Sudan arrests 170 in reported coup attempt

Monday, September 27, 2004

Sudan has reported a coup attempt earlier this month.

The Khartoum government said supporters of former parliamentary speaker Hassan Turabi recruited military officers and accumulated weapons for a coup against the regime of President Omar Bashir. The government said the coup was led Al Haj Adam Yusef, the communications secretary of Turabi's movement, the Popular Congress Party.

So far, Yusef has managed to avoid capture, Middle East Newsline reported. Virtually all of the others in the alleged plot reported to have contained 70 people, including two senior military officers have been arrested.

"The arrests are continuing and so are the search operations," Sudanese Information Minister Al Zawahy Ibrahim Malik told a news conference in Khartoum. "The plotters were planning to seize radio and television stations, Council of Ministers offices and other important installations."

The foiling of the coup prompted a security crackdown around Khartoum. Military and security forces have established checkpoints in and around the capital and conducted searches of passersby and motorists.

The Interior Ministry said the coup was to have been launched in Khartoum at 2 p.m. on Sept. 24 after mosque prayers. The statement said authorities captured an arsenal outside Khartoum of 300 AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades meant for the plotters.

Until 1999, Turabi had been a leading ally of the Bashir regime. The 74-year-old Turabi has spent most of the last five years under house arrest and in March 2004 was thrown in jail on charges of supporting the rebellion in Darfour.

This is the second time this month that the Bashir regime blamed by the United States for atrocities in Darfour had reported the foiling of a coup by Turabi supporters. On Sept. 8, more than 30 Popular Congress members were arrested in an alleged coup plot. Turabi's party has denied any such attempt.

The Interior Ministry statement said authorities have obtained confessions from the alleged plotters. The statement said coup participants sought to "seize vital installations around Khartoum and execute 38 government leaders."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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