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Replacement of intelligence chiefs causes controversy in Sudan

Image of Sudan’s security chief, Mohammed Atta Abbas Al Moula [Facebook]
Sudan’s security chief, Mohammed Atta Abbas Al Moula [Facebook]

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has ousted the head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Mohammed Atta, and reinstated the previous holder of the post, Salah Gosh, in a controversial move ahead of the presidential election, Quds Press reported on Friday.

Al-Bashir has ousted Gosh twice before from the same position, first in 2009, for undisclosed reasons, and then again in 2011 after he was charged with attempting to carry out a military coup and sent to prison. He was later pardoner by the President.

An anonymous source suggested that Al-Bashir reinstated Gosh because he wants to get rid of the opponents within his own party who do not want him to stand in the 2020 election.

"There are mutual interests between Gosh and Al-Bashir," explained the well-placed source. While Al-Bashir wants to purge his party of his opponents, Gosh wants to purge the NISS of his opponents. "That was clear when Gosh immediately sacked NISS strongman Major General Abdel Ghaffar Al-Sharif, who was accused by Gosh of orchestrating his second ouster." Gosh has also sacked 17 other senior officers known to be loyal to Al-Sharif.

Read: Sudan's internal power struggle amid economic woes

Furthermore, Al-Bashir wanted a strong man with credible security experience to carry out the purge of his party. In addition, Gosh maintains good relations with regional and international intelligence agencies.

However, the leader of the ruling party, Dr Rabei Abdel Ati, denied such expectations. He told Quds Press that the differences have been exaggerated. "Differences and polarisation inside a party as big as the National Congress Party are natural," he added.

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