The Sudanese internal security and intelligence apparatus evolved
into a feared and hated institution after Nimeiri came to power
in 1969. During the period of Revolutionary Command Council rule
(1969-71), the military intelligence organization was expanded
to investigate domestic opposition groups. After the council was
abolished, the organization's responsibilities focused on evaluating
and countering threats to the regime from the military. It also
provided a 400-man Presidential Guard.
The Office of State Security was established by decree in 1971
within the Ministry of Interior. The new agency was charged with
evaluating information gathered by the police and military intelligence;
it was also responsible for prison administration and passport
control. The sensitive central security file and certain other
intelligence functions were, however, maintained under the president's
control. In 1978 the presidential and Ministry of Interior groups
were merged to form the State Security Organisation (SSO). Under
the direction of Minister of State Security Umar Muhammad at Tayyib,
a retired army major general and close confidant of the president,
the SSO became a prominent feature of the Nimeiri regime, employing
about 45,000 persons and rivaling the armed forces in size. This
apparatus was dismantled in 1985.
According to the United States Department of State's Country
Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1990, government surveillance,
which was previously rare, became intense after the 1989 coup.
Efforts were made to prevent contact between Sudanese and foreigners.
Civilians, especially suspected dissidents, were harassed, church
services were monitored, and activities of journalists were closely
supervised. Neighborhood "popular committees" used their control
over the rationing system to monitor households.
The Bashir government created a new security body. Generally
referred to as "Islamic Security" or "Security of the Revolution,"
it was under the direct control of a member of the RCC-NS. Its
purpose was to protect the Bashir regime against internal plots
and to act as a watchdog over other security forces and the military.
It quickly became notorious for indiscriminate arrests of suspected
opponents of the regime and for torturing them in its own safe
houses before turning them over to prison authorities for further
detention. A similar organization, Youth for Reconstruction, mobilized
younger Islamic activists.
Data as of June 1991