Rifts within Sudan’s ruling party topple presidential security adviser

April 26, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Internal squabbles within North Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have culminated in the sacking of presidential security adviser Salah Gosh, as the country’s official news agency SUNA abruptly reported at a late hour on Tuesday, citing a decree by President Al-Bashir.

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President Omar al-Bashir, Defense Minister Gen. Abdul-Rahim Mohammed Hussein, and Deputy Chairman of the National Congress Party Nafi Ali Nafi

The removal of the intelligence figure comes few days after he fell out with the country’s powerful presidential assistant and NCP’s Vice-President, Nafi Ali Nafi, amid reports that Al-Bashir himself had intervened to contain the crisis.

Nafi and Gosh exchanged public criticism this week over the dialogue conducted by the latter with certain opposition parties under the umbrella of the Presidential Security Advisory, which Gosh chairs.

The NCP’s Vice-President said in a radio interview on Friday that the dialogue led by Gosh was not sanctioned by the NCP’s leadership, stressing that his party refuses to negotiate over demands by the opposition for the formation of a national government.

In response, Gosh held a press conference on Saturday and claimed that the dialogue enjoys approval by President Al-Bashir and Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha. He further said that no one had the right to interfere in his job and that the dialogue would not stop unless president Al-Bashir issues direct orders to that effect.

Gosh went on to criticize Nafi, saying that his statement is “detrimental to the dialogue and will make opposition parties run away from it.”

Following the public display of discord, Sudan president Al-Bashir reportedly convened a meeting between the two men on Sunday, but no information has been leaked about the outcome of the meeting.

Gosh succeeded Nafi in the leadership of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in 2002 until he was removed from his position in August 2009. He is considered the poster boy of counterterrorism cooperation between the NISS and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

His demotion form NISS chief to a presidential security adviser followed rumors that he had drew the ire of Sudan’s army generals when he deployed his own militiamen to repulse the attack of Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, on the country’s capital in May 2008.

The sacking of Gosh is expected to stoke speculations of a growing power struggle between the NCP’s wing of hardliners, represented by Nafi, and those who favor a moderate approach towards opposition party.

The NCP is currently engaged with two mainstream opposition parties, the National Umma Party of Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Democratic Unionist Party led by Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani, in an effort to assuage the tension that has been dominating the domestic political arena following the secession of the oil-producing region of South Sudan in a referendum in January and the resultant worsening economic conditions.

The former presidential adviser headed also the NCP delegation in the talks with the South Sudan ruling party- SPLM over the disputed Abyei area.

(ST)

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