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Saturday January 18th, 2020 5:44PM

Sudan official says armed protest by security forces halted

By The Associated Press
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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, as well as the western city of Obeid, when intelligence officers went into the streets and began firing live bullets into the air.

There were no reports of casualties among security forces or civilians, he added.

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.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok sought to reassure the country, posting on Twitter that “the events that occurred today are under control." He promised that the short-lived unrest “will not cause us to retreat from the goals of the revolution," and said the government trusted the armed forces to restore order.

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, intimidate 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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