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Sudan's security and intelligence chief resigns, as new leader lifts night curfew

Ashraf Shazly, AFP | Salah Ghosh, the former chief of Sudan's intelligence service, speaks on his phone following his pardon by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on July 10, 2013, in Khartoum.

The head of Sudan’s feared National Intelligence and Security Service, Salih Ghosh, has resigned, the country’s new military rulers said on Saturday, hours before the new head of Sudan’s transitional council lifted the night-time curfew.

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In his first televised address, the new head of Sudan's transitional military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman, announced on Saturday the end of the night curfew ordered by his predecessor.

Vowing to “uproot” the former regime, Sudan’s military ruler ordered the release of all protesters jailed under emergency laws imposed by ousted President Omar al-Bashir and promised that a civilian government would be established after consultations with opposition leaders. He also insured the transitional period would not last longer than two years.

Career soldier al-Burhan took the helm of Sudan's transitional military council on Friday when his predecessor General Awad Ibn Ouf – a close aide of ousted veteran president Bashir – quit after little more than 24 hours in power.

Hours before al-Burhan's address, the transitional military council had said that “the chief of the transitional military council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has accepted the resignation of the chief of NISS”.

Ghosh had overseen a sweeping crackdown led by NISS agents against protesters taking part in four months of mass demonstrations that led up to the toppling of veteran president Omar al-Bashir by the army on Thursday.

Thousands of protesters, opposition activists and journalists were arrested in the crackdown that left dozens killed and hundreds wounded.

Before Bashir’s ouster, NISS agents made several bids to disperse tens of thousands of protesters who have camped outside the army headquarters in the capital since April 6 demanding Bashir’s ouster.

Their efforts proved abortive as troops intervened, but police said on Friday that 16 protesters had been killed at the sit-in over the previous two days.

Bashir had appointed Ghosh as NISS chief in February 2018, which was the regime insider’s second stint at the post. His previous stint ended in August 2009.

Ghosh had worked on and off for NISS ever since the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, according to Sudanese media.

He was credited with building NISS into one of the most important pillars of Bashir’s regime before his dismissal in 2009. He was later jailed on accusations of plotting a coup but no evidence was found against him and Bashir pardoned him.

Over the years NISS has overseen repeated crackdowns on government opponents and the media. Its agents frequently confiscated the entire print-runs of newspapers that criticised government policy or reported on anti-government protests.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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