Opposition leaders detained
Publish date: 10 June 2019
Issue Number: 827
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Sudanese security forces arrested two opposition leaders shortly after they met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during reconciliation talks in Khartoum. Abiy, who has emerged as a key regional leader, met representatives of both sides on Friday in a bid to revive talks between Sudan's ruling generals and protest leaders after the military launched a brutal crackdown on protesters last week. Opposition politician Mohamed Esmat was arrested on Friday soon after his meeting with Abiy, while Ismail Jaleb, a leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North was arrested at his residence on Saturday. They are both leading members of the Freedom and Change alliance, which brings together opposition parties and groups with the organisers of the mass protests that have gripped the East African country since December last year. Eric Reeves, Sudan researcher at Harvard University, told Al Jazeera the latest arrests would complicate the situation further. ‘The Transitional Military Council is not really serious about negotiating with civilians. This could not have been more blatant in the eye of the opposition and it certainly paralyses any effort to move forward in negotiations,’ Reeves said. Legalbrief reports that the council last week said it had cancelled all previous agreements with the main opposition coalition and called for snap elections within nine months.
The UN is temporarily removing some civilian staff from Sudan because of the deteriorating security situation in the country. A report on the allAfrica site notes that medics linked to the opposition said the death toll from last week’s deadly raid on a protest camp and subsequent unrest had risen to 108 and it was expected to increase further. ‘What we are doing is temporarily relocating some of the staff from Sudan. There will still be some staff on hand to perform critical functions but because of security some are being relocated temporarily,’ said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.