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Seven more members of Sudan opposition party ‘detained’

Leader of Sudan's opposition Umma Party Sadiq al Mahdi (L) arrested in May/AFP

Leader of Sudan’s opposition Umma Party Sadiq al Mahdi (L) arrested in May/AFP

KHARTOUM, July 1- Sudanese state security agents have arrested seven more members of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, following its leader’s detention last month, a senior party official said on Tuesday.

“One of our members was arrested early today in Khartoum,” the party’s secretary general Abdelqayum Awad told AFP.

This is in addition to six other members held since June 11 in the West Kordofan town of En Nahud, he said.

Among those held is the party’s secretary general for that area.

A journalist for Al Jarida newspaper was detained with them and all are being held under “emergency” provisions in force in the state, where rebels are active, Awad added.

The top leader of Sudanese Congress, Ibrahim al-Sheikh, was arrested at his home in En Nahud on June 8.

Authorities accused Sheikh of treason-related offences after he criticised the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and protested against politically motivated arrests.

The RSF have denied accusations that they attacked villages in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, of the opposition Reform Now party, has called for the government to free Sheikh and other activists before a national dialogue can resume.

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The government of President Omar al-Bashir has faced mounting challenges since the separation of South Sudan three years ago.

In January, Bashir appealed for a broad national dialogue focused on attaining peace in Sudan’s multiple regional conflicts.

Reform Now is among parties which initially agreed to the dialogue. Critics say the process is aimed not at real reform but at regime preservation.

Sudanese Congress and others including the Communist Party refuse dialogue until a series of conditions are met.

They include the abolition of laws that restrict freedom, particularly the right of security agents to detain people for more than four months without judicial review.


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