Ex-Sudan official detained as protests continue

AP , Monday 14 Feb 2022

Sudan's authorities have arrested a former senior government official a second time, his party said, as thousands of people took to the streets around the country Monday to protest an October military takeover.

People march during a demonstration calling for civilian rule and denouncing the military administration, in the south of Sudan s capital Khartoum on February 10, 2022. AFP

The Unionist Alliance party said Mohammed al-Faki Suliman, a former member of the ruling Sovereign Council, was detained Sunday in the capital of Khartoum. It said security forces stopped his vehicle as he was heading from his home to the party's headquarters.

Suliman was also deputy head of a government-run agency tasked with dismantling the legacy of former autocratic President Omar al-Bashir's regime.

Also on Sunday, security forces arrested two former members of the agency, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The agency is known as The Committee to Dismantle the Regime of June 30, 1989, in reference the Islamist-backed military coup that brought al-Bashir to power.

The official said the three were taken to the Souba prison in Khartoum. He said they were facing charges related to the work of the agency, which the military disbanded following the Oct. 25 takeover.

Suliman had been detained in the takeover and was released a month later as part of a deal between the military and then-Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

He was the latest of a series of former government officials and activists to be detained in recent weeks as military rulers stepped up crackdown on anti-takeover groups.

Last week, authorities also rearrested Khalid Omar, a minister in the ousted transitional government. Also arrested was Wagdi Saleh, another committee member. Omar is a leader with the opposition Sudanese Congress Party. The party said prosecutors ordered Omar and Saleh to remain in custody for 15 more days. It did not provide further details.

The detentions have intensified in recent weeks as Sudan plunged into further turmoil with near-daily street protests since the military takeover.

The takeover upended Sudan's transition to democratic rule that began after three decades of international isolation under al-Bashir, who was removed from power in 2019 after a popular uprising.

Protesters once again marched in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman on Monday, demanding the establishment of a fully civilian government to lead the transition, according to the pro-democracy movement. There were protests in other cities, too, including Port Sudan and Wad Madani, it said.

The movement shared footage online that showed protesters in Khartoum beating drums and holding the Sudanese flag while marching in the streets of Khartoum.

Security authorities in the capital have called on protesters to assemble in public squares to avoid more clashes with forces. A deadly crackdown on protesters has killed around 80 people and wounded 2,200 others since the takeover, according to a Sudanese medical group.

Sudan has been politically paralyzed since the Oct. 25. The turmoil has worsened since the resignation last month of Hamdok, who complained of failure to reach a compromise between the generals and the pro-democracy movement.

African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, meanwhile, met Sunday with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council, in Khartoum as part of international efforts to find a way out of the crisis, the council said.

Mahamat also met with the Sudanese Professionals Association, which reiterated its demand of the removal of military from power, the association said.

The generals, however, said they will hand over power only to an elected administration. They say elections will take place in July 2023, as planned in a constitutional document governing the transitional period.

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