Sudan moves against Bashir loyalists after assassination attempt

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s ruling council said on Tuesday it would step up its drive to remove loyalists of former president Omar al-Bashir, a day after the prime minister of the transitional government escaped an assassination attempt unscathed.

A branch of Sudan’s security services that was closely linked to Bashir will be brought under control of the civilian government and a committee tasked with dismantling the old regime will be given additional powers, sovereign council spokesman Mohamed al-Faki said in a statement.

Authorities have launched an investigation into Monday’s assassination attempt, when a blast targeted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s convoy as he drove to work.

They have not said who was behind it, but by reasserting that Bashir loyalists will be firmly dealt with, they have suggested possible links with old regime supporters trying to disrupt a democratic transition.

Hamdok heads a government of technocrats serving under a 39-month power-sharing deal between civilian groups and the military that was struck after Bashir was overthrown last April.

As part of efforts to disempower Bashir’s supporters, the “dismantling” committee has already moved to disband the former ruling party and dismiss senior officials at banks and embassies.

Some officers at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have also been dismissed, and the name of the agency has been changed to the General Intelligence Service (GIS).

Faki said on Tuesday that the part of the GIS that operates inside Sudan would be brought under the interior ministry.

In mid-January, armed security agents linked to Bashir fought soldiers in Khartoum for several hours, after a dispute linked to severance packages.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Gareth Jones

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