December 3, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) in Sudan has strongly rejected press reports implicating its leader, Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, in the coup attempt allegedly foiled by authorities last month, describing them as misleading and sensationalized.
- FILE PHOTO - NUP leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi
A press release issued by Al-Mahdi’s office on Monday singled out a news story published this week by the privately owned daily Al-Watan which reported that Al-Mahdi had been in contacts with ex-spy chief Salah Gosh who is the most salient of 13 individuals who have been detained in relation to the coup attempt since it was foiled on 22 November.
The paper said that Al-Mahdi decided to take his current trip to London in order to conceal his participation in the coup. It also pointed to alleged NUP contacts with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) which is a coalition of armed rebel groups including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) and three Darfur rebel groups.
NUP statement strongly condemned the paper’s allegations saying they’re misleading and sensationalized. It said that Al-Mahdi’s trip to London was planned a very long time ago and stressed that he made no contacts with Salah Gosh. The press release blasted the paper demanding that it immediately retracts its report.
The Sudanese government said that the coup, which is linked to disenfranchised Islamists within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), was planned in participation with an opposition political party but it did not name any. It also said that two opposition members were arrested on charge of making contacts with the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Sudanese authorities persistently accuse the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan Al-Turabi of being the mastermind of JEM.
Another statement issued on Monday by Al-Ansar, a religious sect associated with the NUP, warned against any attempt to involve its Imam Al-Mahdi in the attempt. The statement cast doubts on the official narrative of the coup saying it’s shrouded in confusion and secrecy.
“We doubt there was a coup attempt to begin with, and we believe it was an attempt to liquidate rivals and a move aimed at preempting dissent from the disgruntled youth of the Islamist movement”
Sudan’s presidential assistant and NCP’s deputy chairman, Nafe Ali Nafe, accused opposition parties on Sunday of being involved in the coup but all opposition parties allied under the coalition of the National Consensus Forces strongly denied any role in the coup saying it’s an episode of internal power struggle within the NCP.