Sudan’s Salah Abdallah Mohammed Salih, aka Salah Gosh. (AP)
The reappointment of Salah Abdullah Mohammed Salih, commonly known as Salah Gosh, as head of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), has puzzled analysts and politicians.
It also raised questions and speculation of a major cabinet reshuffle likely to be announced by President Omar al-Bashir that will include the dissolution of the Islamist Movement.
No one expected the reappointment of Gosh to his former post or any other public post after he was sacked in 2009. He was accused of masterminding a coup against Bashir. He was consequently brought to trial and imprisoned, before being released by a presidential pardon after which he had stayed away from the political scene.
Bashir surprised the Sudanese by reappointing his former security man. He replaces Intelligence chief Mohamed Atta, the state news agency, SUNA, reported without providing further details.
As soon as the decision to reinstate Gosh was announced, information spread about the major cabinet reshuffle Bashir is expected to make in light of the economic crisis in the country, deterioration of the value of the national currency, the increase in bread prices and other major commodities.
The hike in prices drove protesters to the streets of Khartoum and other cities in recent weeks, but NISS agents and anti-riot police violently broke up the rallies.
The security services have since January been leading a wave of arrests against a number of opposition leaders, political activists and civilians. The most prominent of these were the secretary of the Communist Party, the deputy chairman of the opposition Umma Party and the President of the Congress Party. Several of them were released last week.
Salih, who studied engineering, has worked for the NISS since the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power. As its chief, he is credited with building NISS into one of the most powerful security agencies under Bashir's regime.
Saleh earned his nickname Gosh from a famous Indian math professor who used to teach at the University of Khartoum. No one knows if the nickname was a testament to his math skills or if it was given to him to mock him. For whichever reason, the name Salah Gosh stuck.