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Sudanese authorities say ’sabotage’ attempt thwarted in early morning hours of Thursday

November 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced this morning that they have foiled a plot to "destabilize security" led by unidentified opposition figures.

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FILE - Sudanese anti-riot policemen stand alert in Khartoum, Sudan (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

The brief statement carried around 5 a.m. local time by Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website, that is believed to be run by NISS, quoted a security source as saying that arrests were made that included civilian and military individuals.

The detained figures are undergoing interrogation as security measures are being undertaken, the report said.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw tanks and armored vehicles moving down a major street named Obeid Khitm in central Khartoum, the capital, around midnight. However, a Reuters reporter said security in the area appeared normal in the early morning.

It is not clear what the scope of the sabotage attempt was and the statement gave no indication that this was a coup attempt against the government of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who has ruled the country since 1989.

In 2007 NISS arrested Mubarak al-Fadil, then leader of the Umma Reform and Renewal (UURP) opposition party along with retired army generals and other civilian members of the party over allegations of planning sabotage actions in the country.

But later it was reported that the NISS was given false intelligence by informants. All those detained were released without charge after several months of being held.

Last month Sudanese authorities deployed a police force consisting of 5,600 officers and spoke of planned sabotage operations targeting vital and strategic locations during the Eid Holiday inside Khartoum.