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Sudan arrests 12 over 'coup plot'

Posted on Nov 23, 08:19AM | IANS

The Sudanese government has arrested 12 top military officers, including former national security service head Salah Abdalla Gosh, on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government, Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said.

Sudan's national information centre, considered to be directed by the national security service, announced Thursday that an overnight coup attempt by civilian and military opposition figures had been prevented.

"They have been charged with fomenting chaos, persecuting national leaders, and spreading rumours about the health of President Omar Bashir," Osman said.

President Bashir returned to Khartoum from Saudi Arabia last week after a successful operation on his vocal cords, the government said. He had previously had similar treatment in Qatar.

Despite government statements insisting he is in good health, rumours have persisted since he came home that he is seriously ill.

In April 2011, Bashir sacked Salaha Abdalla Gosh, one of the most influential members of his regime, from his post as security adviser.

Prior to his appointment as presidential security adviser in 2009, Gosh served as head of the National Intelligence and Security Service for seven years, according to the Sudan Tribune.

He had also headed the National Congress, Sudan's ruling party, in talks with South Sudan over the disputed region of Abyei and was also responsible for cooperation with the US on its anti-terrorist campaign after the attacks Sep 11, 2001.

Gosh was dismissed for criticism of the ruling party, according to local media.