Coup attempt disrupted, Sudanese government says

(File photo) Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir gestures as he arrives at Khartoum airport on November 14, 2012.

Story highlights

  • "A plan of sabotage" sought to destabilize Sudan, the minister of information says
  • Thirteen people were arrested, he says, including a former intelligence chief
  • Current members of the army and security agency were not involved in the plot, he says

Sudanese authorities disrupted a plot "to create chaos, target leaders of the country and destabilize the county," in what appeared to be an attempted coup d'etat, Sudan's minister of information told reporters Thursday.

"The act was planned for last Thursday, then was postponed to this Thursday," Ahmad Bilal Osman said. The government's goal was "to have it aborted before it began, and that happened."

Read more: Sudan and South Sudan sign partial agreement

Earlier in the day, the semi-official Sudanese Media Service had reported that, "according to a source in the National Security (agency), a plan of sabotage was aborted at dawn this morning that aimed to create security chaos which was led by persons from the opposition."

Thirteen people were arrested, according to Osman, most notably Salah Ghosh, former head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services.

Sudan's 'war child' sings for peace
Sudan's 'war child' sings for peace

    JUST WATCHED

    Sudan's 'war child' sings for peace

MUST WATCH

Sudan's 'war child' sings for peace 05:36
PLAY VIDEO
Sudan, South Sudan peace talks continue
Sudan, South Sudan peace talks continue

    JUST WATCHED

    Sudan, South Sudan peace talks continue

MUST WATCH

Sudan, South Sudan peace talks continue 01:05
PLAY VIDEO

Read more: Sudan to reopen borders with South Sudan

Sudanese Media Service said the source added that there was a "plan of sabotage which sought to shake the stability and security of the country," and that after the arrests, "the specialized authorities" immediately began investigations of "civil and military persons connected to the plan."

The apparent coup attempt comes at a time when Sudan is facing serious challenges with conflicts in the country's peripheral provinces of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.

Read more: Sudan president vows to 'punish' South Sudan

Sudan's oil-dependent economy took a blow in 2011 when South Sudan seceded, taking with it the majority of the oil wealth. Economic austerity measures last summer sparked Arab Spring-like protests against the government, and increased calls for reform within the National Congress Party, led by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled since 1989.

Read more: Supermodel Alek Wek's emotional homecoming

Witnesses said they saw tanks and military vehicles move around in the capital in the very early morning hours Thursday.

"I saw tanks around one of the bridges," one witness said.

Osman said "things are now stable" and "there is no extension of this act into the army or security" services.

"Some in the opposition dreamt that this chaos would create an opportunity to topple the regime," he said. "They are dreaming."

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.