Debate rages over Sudan's Bashir after 'plot' arrests

November 23, 2012 19:27


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KHARTOUM - Sudan's information minister had one clear message after security agents moved in to arrest their former spy chief - that a plot had been uncovered, the culprits caught and the situation in the country was now "totally stable."

Khartoum did appear quiet a day later on Friday - but on the desert city's dusty streets the detention amplified a debate about the future of the country's leader, and posed new questions about who might one day unseat him.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has kept a near quarter-century hold on this African oil producer, drawing support from its all powerful military, security services and large parts of the devout, overwhelmingly Muslim population.

His speeches regularly referred to threats from outside - from the West, from Israel and from the International Criminal Court, which has indicted him over charges of atrocities in Darfur.

But the man arrested on Thursday on charges of plotting to "incite chaos" was Salah Gosh, once one of the most powerful figures in Bashir's inner circle, together with several other senior figures from army and security.

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