There was chaos in the Sudanese capital Khartoum yesterday, as hundreds of members of Sudan’s intelligence agency staged an armed uprising against the country’s new government. At least five people —including two soldiers— are believed to have died in the uprising, while several dozen intelligence officers were reportedly arrested.
The uprising comes nine months after a student-led revolution toppled Sudan’s long-time dictator, Omar al-Bashir. The Sudanese military eventually stepped in and took power, promising to stabilize the country and hold democratic elections. Since coming to power, the new government has been trying to disarm and disempower Sudan’s feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Its employees have been offered retirement packages in return for surrendering their weapons. The government’s plan is to replace them with a non-militarized intelligence force.
But NISS officers have rejected the proposed retirement packages and seek higher compensation amounts for themselves and their subordinates. It appears that several hundred NISS officers staged a coordinated uprising in the early hours of Wednesday, in Khartoum and other locations around the country. According to reports, the mutineers took over two oil fields in Sudan’s East Darfur state, and threatened to take over the Khartoum International Airport.
At a press conference held on Wednesday morning, Sudan’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Osman Mohamed al-Hassan, told reporters that the mutineers were confronted by soldiers who “stormed their bases”. The airport and the two oil fields had been secured by Wednesday afternoon, but reports stated that at least five people, including three civilians, died in the process. Late on Wednesday, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who chairs Sudan’s transitional governing council, announced on television that NISS Director General Abu Bakr Mustafa had tendered his resignation. He also said that over 40 NISS officers had been arrested.