Sudanese authorities arrested several top members of the former ruling party late Saturday, a senior party official told Reuters.
Those arrested included the acting head of the National Congress Party, Ahmed Haroun; ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s former first deputy, Ali Osman Taha; his former aide, Awad al-Jaz; the secretary-general of the Islamic movement, Al-Zubair Ahmed Hassan; and former parliament Chairman Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher, the source said.
Former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie and parliament Chairman Ibrahim Ahmed Omar have been placed under house arrest, he added.
Sixteen weeks of protests triggered by a worsening economic crisis in Sudan led recently to the ouster and arrest of Bashir, who had been in power for three decades. A transitional military council assumed power last week.
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.
Suitcases loaded with cash
The source said military intelligence officers who searched Bashir’s home found suitcases loaded with more than $351,000 and 6 million euros, as well as 5 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. 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 Saturday for comment about the investigation.
Bashir, who is also being sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region, was ousted April 11 by the military following months of protests against his rule and had been held at a presidential residence.
His family said this week that the former president had been moved to the high-security Kobar prison in Khartoum.
Hassan Bashir, a professor of political science at the University of Neelain, said the measures against Bashir are intended as a message to other figures associated with his rule that they are not above the law.
“The trial is a step that the military council wants to take to satisfy the protesters by presenting al-Bashir for trial,” he said.
Bashir survived several armed rebellions, economic crises, and attempts by the West to turn him into a pariah during his 30-year rule before he was toppled in a military coup.
At a sit-in outside Sudan’s Ministry of Defense that began on April 6, protesters, who sleep on the pavement, stood besides posters of Bashir that called on the ICC to put him on trial.