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Home / World / Sudan Imprisons Opposition Leader for Mediation Efforts in Ethiopia | Sudan News

Sudan Imprisons Opposition Leader for Mediation Efforts in Ethiopia | Sudan News



The Sudanese security forces arrested two opposition leaders shortly after their meeting with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during reconciliation talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Abiy, who has become a major regional leader, met with representatives from both sides on Friday to revive talks between ruling Sudan generals and protesters following the military's brutal crackdown on protesters this week which killed dozens of people.

Among the delegates of the protest movement were the opposition politician Mohamed Esmat and a leader of Ismail Jalab, the liberation movement of the Sudanese rebels in the north (SPLM-N).

Esmat was arrested on Friday shortly after his meeting with Abiy while Jalab was arrested at his residence early Saturday, their aides told AFP.

"A group of armed men arrived in vehicles at 3am (1

am) and took Ismail Jalab with them … without cause," Jalab's aide Rashid Anwar told AFP, adding that PLM's N spokesman Mubarak Ardol was also detained.

"We do not know where they are being held," he added.

Esmat and Jalab are both leading members of the Alliance for Freedom and Change which brings together opposition parties and groups with the organizers of the mass protests that have seized the East African country since last December.

The arrest of Jalab takes place just days after the arrest of Deputy Chairman of SPLM-N, Yasir Arman confiscated from his home in Khartoum.

Since 2011, the SPLM-N has led insurgency among non-Arab ethnic minorities in the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, which wanted to peacefully end the Sudanese military following the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in April.

Ethiopian mediation

After Abiys visit to Sudan on Friday, his spokesmen told reporters that the prime minister had approved two ambassadors to continue the mediation efforts between the military and protesters.

"They [the two special envoys] will be in the next two days to conduct further in-depth discussions with both parties and to ensure that … confirmed decisions are made in the next few days," Belina Thiom said.

Following the arrival of Abiy in Khartoum, the alliance of Sudanese opposition groups and demonstrators declared that it accepted Ethiopia as an intermediary in its political blockade with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) under certain conditions.

Demands by the opposition include that on Monday the TMC takes responsibility for the deadly disbanding of a protest, initiating an international investigation into the incident, and releasing political prisoners.

Abiyy's trip took place after the African Union (AU) suspended membership of Sudan on Thursday after the deaths of at least 108 people since the fatal sit-in attack on Monday. According to the opposition Central Committee of Sudanese doctors, more than 500 people were wounded during the raids.

However, an official from the Ministry of Health was quoted on Thursday stating that the death toll was 61.

Al Jazeera is unable to independently confirm the varying numbers after the journalists were told not to report from the country.

"Terrorism"

Since the deadly attack, the fearful inhabitants of Khartoum have mostly remained in the house, practically leaving the streets at a time when Muslims usually celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Soldiers of the dreaded Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who have their origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia unleashed during the conflict in the western region of Darfur in 2003 and 2004, are on a series the main squares of the capital remained stationed.

Others have been seen patrolling their pick-up trucks equipped with heavy machine guns or rocket launchers.

"We live in a state of terror for sporadic gunfire," said an unidentified South Sudan resident of AFP

The United Nations Human Rights Office is trying to send a surveillance team to Sudan to investigate suspected violations during the Rupert Colville, spokesman for the agency, told Al Jazeera on Friday to investigate this week's military crackdown.

"We have a formal call on the government to bring the UN human rights monitoring team into the country as soon as possible, Colville has a varied history, and they seem to be at the center of this week's violence," he added.

THE LISTENING POST | Sudan: crackdown on protests, repression of media

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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