Military Government Says Coup Attempt Crushed
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) _ Sudan’s military government said today that loyalist forces had crushed a revolt by junior army officers, the second reported attempt in a month to overthrow the ruling junta.
Sudan’s military leader, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan el-Bashir, said his troops arrested the rebels and were in control of this East African nation. He did not mention any casualty figures or the number of arrests.
″All those involved in the attempt have been arrested, those who are in active (military) service and those who are retired,″ el-Bashir said in a speech broadcast at midday over Radio Omduran, the official government station.
El-Bashir said the coup plotters had been under surveillance from the start of the takeover attempt.
Without elaborating, el-Bashir said the abortive coup was masterminded by ″the alliance in coalition with the outlaws.″
The government has often used the term ″outlaws″ to refer to the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which has been waging a seven-year insurgency seeking autonomy for the country’s southern region.
″The alliance″ was possibly a reference to political parties disbanded by el-Bashir after he took control of the country June 30.
An official government spokesman said today’s coup attempt was a continuation of a bid uncovered in March to topple the military government.
Authorities ″took measures to prevent the move from the start″ after receiving information that rebel officers were planning today’s coup attempt, said government spokesman Mohammed Khogali Salihein.
He said today’s attempted coup was plotted by two retired officers, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Kadir al-Kadaru and Brig. Gen. Mohammed Osman Hamid Karrar. He said both officers were in custody, but no civilians had been arrested.
Informed sources in the capital of Khartoum said the army appeared to have had little trouble putting down a series of attacks led by junior army officers.
The Sudanese sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attempted coup began at midnight and the rebels tried to take over Khartoum airport and official government radio but were quickly overpowered.
The sources said several officers tried to shoot their way into the armed forces general command in Khartoum, apparently in search of el-Bashir, but could not get through the front gate.
They said a guard at the general command was wounded in the hand.
Khartoum airport was closed briefly and telecommunications cut for several hours. But by midmorning, Khartoum was peaceful.
″It was an attempted coup around midnight by a small number of very low- level officers,″ said a source who said he details came from people at the general command.
″They tried to take over the airport and the radio in a rather pathetic way and were very unsuccessful,″ the source said.
Tanks were seen on vital bridges and around the general command. The army was on full alert, but overall security did not seem heightened in the streets of the capital.
In a dispatch from Khartoum, Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency said the coup attempt involved junior officers but was masterminded by some retired officers. It did not identify them.
In late March, the official Sudan News Agency reported that a number of civilians and military officers were arrested for allegedly planning a coup.
Later, el-Bashir was quoted as saying that only 20 people were involved and that investigations were under way.
The junta seized power June 30 by overthrowing Prime Minister Sadek el- Mahdi’s civilian government.
At the time, el-Bashir said his principal aims were to end the 7-year-old civil war in the south and improve the country’s beleaguered economy. He has had little success.