Crackdown on Bashir party’s top leaders

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Sudanese students gather in front of the United Nations (UN) Office in Khartoum, Sudan, to hand over a memorandum of protest against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on Dec. 10, 2017. Xinhua/Mohamed Khidir

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese authorities have arrested several top members of the former ruling party of ousted President Omar al-Bashir, in a move that could bolster military rulers who are under mounting pressure by protesters to hand power to civilians.

In another part of a widening crackdown designed to remove remnants of Bashir’s rule, the transitional military council (TMC) said it will retire all eight of the officers ranked lieutenant general in the National Intelligence and Security Service.

Opposition groups had demanded that the security agencies be restructured.

Sudan’s public prosecutor has begun investigating Bashir on charges of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds, a judicial source said earlier on Saturday.

The source said military intelligence officers who searched Mr Bashir’s home found suitcases loaded with more than $351,000 and six million euros, as well as five million Sudanese pounds.

“The chief public prosecutor … ordered the (former) president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial,” the judicial source told Reuters.

“The public prosecution will question the former president in Kobar prison,” the source said. Mr Bashir has not been questioned yet, the source added. Two of his brothers were also detained on allegations of corruption, the source said.

Relatives could not immediately be reached on Saturday for comment about the investigation.

Separately, a source in Mr Bashir’s National Congress Party said authorities arrested the acting party head Ahmed Haroun, former first vice president Ali Osman Taha, former Bashir aide Awad al-Jaz, the secretary general of the Islamic movement Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan and former parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher.

The source also said parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omar and presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie were under house arrest.

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