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President Omar Bashir Fires Spy Chief

North-Africa

President Omar Bashir Fires Spy Chief

Sudan’s powerful intelligence chief Mohammed Atta was shown the exit on Sunday in the country’s ongoing security crackdown on opposition protests against rising food prices.

Bashir issued a presidential decree announcing Salah Abdallah Mohammed Salih as the new head of the country’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), SUNA said, without providing further details.

Atta’s removal came after he returned this week from Cairo where he was part of a Sudanese delegation that held talks with Egyptian officials on several issues including security.

In recent weeks NISS has been leading a crackdown on sporadic opposition protests that have erupted since early January against rising food prices.

Protesters have taken to the streets after bread prices increased on the back of a government decision to leave wheat imports to the private sector that triggered a sharp rise in the cost of flour.

Salih, until Sunday a lawmaker for the ruling National Congress Party, worked on and off for NISS since the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, according to Sudanese media.

As its chief, he was credited with building NISS into one of the most powerful security agencies of Bashir’s regime before his dismissal in 2009.

He was later jailed on accusations that he had planned a coup to topple Bashir, but no evidence was found against him and the president pardoned him.

Salih is still seen as a powerful and influential figure despite the coup accusations that were made against him.

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