Sudan reopens airspace after revolt quelled

A civilian walks past members of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are seen near the area where gunmen opened fire outside buildings used by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in Khartoum, Sudan January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan has reopened its airspace after putting down an armed revolt by former security agents linked to toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, the head of the sovereign council that runs the country said on Wednesday.

The army said two soldiers were killed and four injured in several hours of fighting in Khartoum with former members of the once-feared security service before government forces quelled the uprising late on Tuesday.

The military also took control of two small oilfields in Darfur that had been seized by the insurgents and production resumed on Wednesday, the petroleum minister said on state television.

Former employees of the National Intelligence and Security Service, who had been protesting against their severance packages, shut the two oilfields on Tuesday. The fields have an output of around 5,000 barrels a day.

In a speech early on Wednesday, the sovereign council head, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, vowed to stand firm against any coup attempt and added that the army was in control of all buildings used by the intelligence service.

“All headquarters are under the army’s control and the airspace is now open,” Burhan said.

“What happened on Tuesday was a revolt,” said Mohamed Othman al-Hussein, the army chief of staff, but the military had been able to end it with minimal casualties.

Restructuring the security apparatus blamed for suppressing dissent under Bashir was a key demand of the uprising that had forced his removal.

However, once dismissed by the new transitional government, many of the security agents returned to barracks without handing in their weapons.

Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek and Khalid Abdelaziz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Giles Elgood

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