Sudan official says armed protest by security forces halted

Tue, January 14, 2020 10:30 EST

CAIRO (AP) — A Sudanese official said Tuesday that security forces have contained an armed protest from within the security apparatus, amid reports of unrest.

Sudan’s minister of information, Faisal Mohamed Salah, called on “rebellious forces” to hand over their weapons in a televised statement. He said the unrest started earlier Tuesday in the capital, Khartoum, and another city, but had so far not led to any casualties among security forces or civilians.

Sudan’s intelligence service released a statement on Twitter attributing the mutiny to officers’ complaints over unfair compensation amid the country’s transitional phase.

Sudan is in a transition period after an uprising last year deposed longtime autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir. Since then, the country has been led by a joint military-civilian government. It's led by a technocrat prime minister, Abdallah Hamdok, and a military council.

Earlier Tuesday, workers told travelers at Khartoum's international airport that the facility was closed temporarily.

Video posted on social media showed the heavy deployment of security forces in some areas of Khartoum. There were unconfirmed reports of gunfire in one area near a building belonging to the country's intelligence body.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the main organization behind the protest movement that ousted al-Bashir, urged people to stay indoors until the disturbance was settled. It said it rejected “any attempt to foment chaos, intimate citizens and deploy weapons,” and demanded immediate state intervention.

The group also reported a sudden blackout of state-run media. It called on all Sudanese and foreigners to steer clear of all military zones "in anticipation of armed clashes that may occur, due to high tensions."

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