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Sudan Security Forces Seize Explosives, Bomb-making Materials

FILE - Members of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force operated by the Sudanese government, patrol on a street in Khartoum, Sudan, Jan. 14, 2020.

Sudanese security forces targeted a suspected terrorist cell in Khartoum and seized massive amounts of explosives, including TNT and ammonium nitrate, authorities announced Wednesday. At least 41 people were arrested and are being investigated, according to Sudan Attorney General Taj Alsir Alhibir.

Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) carried out the operation under the supervision of the attorney general’s office, according to Brigadier General Jamal Juma Adam, RSF's spokesperson.

Khartoum, Sudan
Khartoum, Sudan

“We monitored the activities of these people who were trading in explosives throughout the tri-capital," said Adam. "Between August 19 and September 3, we carried out the raids and seized the explosives and arrested those involved.”

Attack on PM

In March, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok survived an apparent assassination attempt that targeted his motorcade while en route to his office. The attackers used explosives that Adam said were similar to what RSF forces captured. A number of suspects were arrested in connection with the attack, but the results of an investigation — which Sudanese officials say includes the FBI — have yet to be made public.

Adam said the explosives pose a threat beyond Sudan’s national security.

“It’s also about our open borders with neighboring countries that are unstable, and from there to the outside world," said Adam. "We fear that we could be redesignated as a country that exports these compounds, and that would cause us regional and international problems.”

The explosive materials seized in Khartoum included substances used for industrial purposes, as well as for making bombs, said Alhibir.

“The raids resulted in the seizure of very dangerous explosives that include TNT and ammonium nitrate, which as you know is the same substance that recently blew up the port of Beirut in Lebanon,” said Alhibir.

'Dangerous' materials

Forensic analysis revealed the compounds are “dangerous enough to blow up the country’s capital, if I’m not mistaken,” added Alhibir.

He said the investigation was being handled by a Sudanese prosecutor “specializing in counterterrorism.”

Adam said the substances seized by RSF forces are supposed to be used only by industries under strict regulations and military supervision.

Adam and Alhibir called on citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to authorities.

The arrests came as Sudan is trying to persuade the Trump administration to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism. U.S. officials said last month that the administration had reached an agreement in principle with Sudan’s transitional government to achieve that goal.