Sudan military says coup attempt thwarted, senior officers arrested

A Sudanese protester chants slogans as others wave national flags in the capital Khartoum's Green Square on July 18, 2019, as they honour comrades killed in the months-long protest movement that has rocked the country. (AFP)
Updated 24 July 2019

Sudan military says coup attempt thwarted, senior officers arrested

  • This was the second coup plot reported this month in Sudan
  • Sudan's ruling generals and pro-democracy factions have yet to sign the second, final part of the power-sharing deal

CAIRO: Sudan's army chief was among several people arrested in a coup plot, the country's military said Wednesday, shortly after reports emerged of at least a dozen high-ranking army officers and Islamists being taken into custody in the conspiracy.
This was the second coup plot reported this month in Sudan, where talks between the military and the country's pro-democracy movement have dragged out over the final and crucial part of a power-sharing deal for the nation's transitional period.
Earlier in July, the military council that took over the country after ousting longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir in April, said it arrested at least 16 active and retired military officers over an attempted coup.
Late Wednesday, a brief statement from the military said the county's chief-of-staff, Gen. Hashem Abdel-Muttalib Babakr, was among those arrested over the alleged plot. The statement said the plot aimed to sabotage the power-sharing deal between the military council and the protest movement.
Babakr was appointed chief-of-staff just days after Al-Bashir's ouster following months of street protests against the president's 30-year rule. Since April, Babakr had appeared loyal to Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the ruling military council, and only last week visited Egypt with a top-level Sudanese delegation.
Earlier Wednesday, two military officials told The Associated Press that others among those newly arrested were officers working for Sudan's military and the national intelligence and security services.
The arrests all took place this week and several Islamists, including a former minister, loyal to Al-Bashir were also arrested over the same plot, the officials said. They refused to reveal further details and spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media.
Sudan's ruling generals and pro-democracy factions have yet to sign the second, final part of the power-sharing deal. They signed a political declaration that outlines the deal last week, after agreeing on a joint sovereign council that will rule for a little over three years while elections are organized.
Both sides say a diplomatic push by the US and its Arab allies was key to ending the weeks-long standoff between the military and the protesters that raised fears of all-out civil war.
The second, more contentious part of the power-sharing deal — the so-called constitutional agreement — is meant to specify the division of powers during the transitional period.
But that part has now stalled.
Leaders of the pro-democracy movement, known as the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, have been meeting in Ethiopia with leaders of the Revolutionary Front, an alliance of Sudanese rebel groups who are also part of the movement. The Revolutionary Front had rejected the power-sharing deal, arguing it fails to meet their demands for peace.
For decades, Sudan has been convulsed by rebellions in the provinces by ethnic and religious minorities who felt marginalized or oppressed by the Khartoum government, which is dominated by northern Sudanese Arab Muslims.
The Revolutionary Front includes rebel groups from Darfur as well as Blue Nile and South Kordofan provinces.


Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

Updated 1 min 34 sec ago

Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

  • ‘With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait’
  • Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait from 2006

The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has died aged 91.

Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006.

His death was announced by the Emiri Diwan.

"With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Muslim nations, and our friendly nations worldwide," the statement said.

Royal Court Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah announced the death on state TV.

Sheikh Sabah was admitted to hospital in July and underwent surgery, before traveling to the US for further treatment.

His death brought an ourtpouring of grief and condolences from both the Gulf, the region and beyond.

He served as Kuwait’s foreign minister from 1963 for four decades after holding a number of other governmental posts. He then became prime minister in 2003.