Sudan arrests opposition figures over new alliance

Farouk Abu Issa, spokesman for Sudan's coalition of opposition groups the National Concensus Forces (NCF), briefs reporters in Khartoum late on April 17, 2010 ©Ashraf Shazly - AFP/File
Farouk Abu Issa, spokesman for Sudan’s coalition of opposition groups the National Concensus Forces (NCF), briefs reporters in Khartoum late on April 17, 2010 ©Ashraf Shazly – AFP/File

7 December 2014

Sudanese security forces have arrested two opposition figures who joined an alliance aimed at uniting opposition to the government, a member of one group that signed the document said Sunday.

 The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) detained Farouk Abu Issa, head of the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF), and civil activist Amin Makki Madani late Saturday, NCF official Siddig Youssif told AFP by telephone.

 “We have had no communications with them and we do not know where they are,” Youssif said.

It was not possible to reach the authorities for comment.

 Issa and Madani were the signatories of a document in Addis Ababa on Wednesday aimed at uniting opposition to President Omar al-Bashir’s 25-year rule.

 Other signatories included the Umma Party, rebels, civil society organisations and the NCF, which groups a number of opposition parties together.

 Issa signed on behalf of the NCF and Madani signed for several civil society groups.

 The document called for a transitional government in Sudan, where Bashir has ruled since seizing power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

 The NCF urged security forces to release the detainees immediately.

 “We demand the immediate release of Farouk Abu Issa and all political detainees and those convicted for political reasons,” NCF spokesman Mohamed Diaa Eddin said at a news conference.

 The alliance would press ahead with its work “despite these repressive security measures,” he said.

 The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) called on NISS to release Madani, saying they were concerned for his health.

 Madani, 76, suffers high blood pressure and diabetes, FIDH said, and “NISS refused to allow him to take his medications with him,” according to information they received.

 Mariam al-Mahdi, deputy head of the Umma Party, also hit out at the arrests.

 “We reject this nonsensical move by the regime, because these citizens have just exercised their rights to seek stability, peace and democratic transition,” she told AFP.

 NISS agents detained Mahdi for a month in August after her party held talks in Paris with rebels seeking to oust Bashir.

 Bashir said he would seek reelection in April, a move criticised by the opposition.

 He oversaw Sudan’s split from Juba in 2011 under a peace deal that ended 22 years of civil war. The separation also saw Khartoum lose most oil producing areas, and the country’s already battered economy suffered further.

 In January, he announced a national dialogue aimed at ending conflicts wracking South Kordofan and Blue Nile in southern Sudan and Darfur in the west, as well as tackling the troubled economy.

AFP/The Daily Mail