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Sudanese protesters shout slogans and wave flags during a rally honouring fallen protesters at the Green Square in Khartoum. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Sudanese security forces have busted a terrorist cell with explosive materials that posed threat to Sudan and neighbouring countries, Sudan’s public prosecutor Taj Al Sir Ali Al Hebr said on Wednesday.

Al Hebr said at a press briefing in capital Khartoum that the terrorist cell consists of 41 members, pointing out that investigations are still underway to disclose the details.

Meanwhile, Jamal Jumma Adam, spokesman of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF), said at the press briefing that the RSF forces have also seized 3,594 blasting caps, 1,000 detonating cord, and four bags of aluminium nitrate.

He noted that the terrorist cell was pursued from August 19 to September 13.

Adam further warned that large quantities of explosives could possibly leak into countries neighboring Sudan.

Analysts say the busting of this terrorist cell could help expedite the lifting of the terrorism designation.

Last month, the Trump administration reached an agreement in principle with Sudan’s new transitional government to settle a series of long-standing claims by American terrorism victims, laying the groundwork for the country’s removal from the US list of states that sponsor terrorism, officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter told Foreign Policy.

The deal—which has yet to be finalised—requires Sudan’s fledgling civilian-led government to deposit $335 million in an escrow account for the families of victims of terrorist attacks that the former Sudanese regime played a role in supporting two decades ago. The attacks covered in the agreement are the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 terrorist attack against the USS Cole. It would not address claims of families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

If finalised, the arrangement would help restore Sudan’s standing in the international community and allow for outside investment and aid for the country’s ailing economy. It would also pave the way for further normalisation of US relations with Sudan and amount to a political victory for Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, whose fragile transitional government faces mounting pressure since the 2019 revolution that ousted Omar Al Bashir.

But officials in Washington caution that other significant hurdles remain before the deal can be finalised. The settlement proposal and directive to lift Sudan’s terrorism designation would have to be approved by Pompeo and then President Donald Trump before being sent to Congress for review. Lawmakers would have to agree to formally remove Sudan from the list of state terrorism sponsors and pass legislation that would restore the country’s sovereign immunity before US courts.

The preliminary pact caps months of grueling legal and political discussions aimed at boosting the political prospects of Sudan’s civilian leader, Hamdok, who is leading the country’s difficult transition from decades of military dictatorship to civilian rule.

One sticking point was how US citizens versus foreign nationals would be compensated by the Sudanese government. In the two decades since the attacks, some foreign nationals have become US citizens, raising questions on whether they should be compensated based on their current or former citizenship.

The agreement calls on Sudan to pay up to $10 million for each U.S. government official killed in the U.S. Embassy bombings and $800,000 for foreign nationals who worked at the embassies and were killed, according to US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Americans injured in the attack could get anywhere from $3 million to $10 million in compensation, while foreign nationals injured would receive up to $400,000.