KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Officers who ousted President Omar al-Bashir from three decades in power have announced that a military council will run Sudan for a transitional period lasting up to two years, followed by elections.
FILE PHOTO: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir addresses supporters during his visit to the war-torn Darfur region, in Bilal, Darfur, Sudan September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo
But one day after Bashir’s overthrow, few details have emerged about how many members will be on the council or its make-up. Only the council’s head, Defence Minister General Awad Ibn Auf, and its deputy head, General Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi, the military chief of staff, have been named.
The head of the transitional military council’s political committee, Omar Zain al-Abideen, told a news conference on Friday the announcement of the remaining members had been delayed for further consultations.
But many Sudanese believe that veteran security officials, such as intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, commonly known as Salah Gosh, as well as senior commanders of the branches of the armed forces are likely to be on the council.
Below are brief penpix of leading figures in Sudan’s security establishment:
AWAD IBN AUF
Awad Ibn Auf has been defence minister since 2015, before Bashir promoted him to first vice president in February as protests against him intensified.
He is widely believed to have strong ties to Islamists and is accused by the United States of being a liaison between the government and the Janjaweed militia, blamed for much of the atrocities in Darfur.
Washington placed sanctions on Ibn Auf and others in 2007 “for their roles in fomenting violence and human rights abuses in Darfur,” freezing his assets in the United States and banning Americans from doing business with him.
KAMAL ABDELMAROUF AL-MAHI
General Kamal Abdelmarouf al-Mahi, the Sudanese military’s chief of staff since February, 2018, is little-known in public life. Mahi, who is also thought to have close ties to Islamists, replaced Emad al-Din Adawi, who had been rumoured as a possible successor to Bashir.
SALAH ABDALLAH MOHAMED SALEH (SALAH GOSH)
Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, commonly known as Salah Gosh, heads the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). He had also led the service between 2004 and 2009, and was reinstated in February, 2018.
Gosh served as a security adviser to Bashir for two years before he was detained in 2012 and held or several months, accused of “inciting chaos”, “targeting” some leaders and spreading rumours about Bashir’s health.
The New York Times reported in 2005 that U.S. intelligence officials had allowed Gosh to visit the country for consultation with the CIA as a reward for Sudan’s cooperation in detaining suspected militants and providing information on al Qaeda following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
MOHAMED HAMDAN DAGALO (HEMETI)
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known by his nickname Hemeti, is the head of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group that grew out of the Janjaweed militia, which operated in Darfur. The government had denied any wrongdoing by the RSF.
(This story corrects Ibn Auf’s first name)
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Angus MacSwan