New general for Sudan's army
25 June 2013, 18:16
Khartoum - A new general took command of the Sudan Armed
Forces (SAF) on Tuesday after what analysts called humiliating attacks by
In a ceremony at military headquarters General Mustafa Osman
Obeid Salim received an armed forces flag from his predecessor, Ismat Abdul-Rahman,
to mark his appointment as chief of staff, an AFP photographer said.
The army, air force, military intelligence and other key
commands also changed their top leadership in a shuffle which official media
A regional political expert told AFP the SAF normally
rotates its commanders every three years in May but this year's change was
delayed because of fighting at Abu Kershola, South Kordofan.
The military took one month to recapture Abu Kershola and
its garrison from rebels of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of
insurgents from Sudan's Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Rebels have been fighting for two years in the states of
South Kordofan and Blue Nile, while a decade-long insurgency continues in
Sudan's far-west Darfur region.
"SAF has a lot of difficulties" to push back the
rebels, the regional expert said, asking for anonymity.
The rebel alliance seized Abu Kershola during a co-ordinated
attack on several areas including the strategic and previously peaceful town of
Umm Rawaba in North Kordofan.
"This is highly embarrassing" for the authorities,
another analyst said.
Injecting new blood
President Omar al-Bashir, Defence Minister Abdelrahim
Mohammed Hussein and South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun attended Tuesday's
"They say that they are injecting new blood... in order
to win the war against the rebels," the regional expert said.
The reshuffle also follows what the government said was a
coup plot against it last November.
In April Bashir pardoned about 15 military men and security
agents who had been jailed for their roles in the plot.
Analysts say the case, linked to Islamist officers who had
once firmly backed the regime, reflects a political struggle within Bashir's
Officials have never revealed more than vague details about
In changing the military leadership Bashir "would like
be sure of their loyalty and professionalism", the
regional expert said.