Sudan rebel leader 'deported' as military steps up street patrols

Sudanese rebel leader Yasir Arman has said he and two comrades have been forcibly deported from Khartoum, on the second day of a nationwide civil disobedience campaign by protesters.

Speaking from a hotel after arriving in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Arman said on Monday: “I was deported against my will … I have not been released; I have been deported from my country.”

Sudanese state television earlier reported that Arman – together with fellow leading rebels Ismail Jalab and Mubarak Ardol – had been released from custody.

“I came together with comrade Ismail Khamis Jalab and comrade Mubarak Ardol … I just want to confirm I have been deported against my will,” said Arman in Juba, adding he had been well received by South Sudanese authorities.

Arman said on Twitter he had been deported by military helicopter and has also claimed the three of them were tied up during the flight.

Jalab and Ardol were detained after meeting Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed in Khartoum on Friday for talks aimed at reviving negotiations between Sudan’s rulers and protesters. Ahmed met the head of Sudan’s military council, Abdel Fattah Burhan, the same day. Arman had been arrested two days earlier.

Arman had arrived in Khartoum in late May to take part in talks with the military council that toppled longtime president Omar al-Bashir after months of protests against his 30-year-rule.

Yasir Arman addresses the media in Juba, South Sudan, on Monday.

Yasir Arman addresses the media in Juba, South Sudan, on Monday. Photograph: Samir Bol/Reuters

Protesters later gathered outside army headquarters in Khartoum to demand the military council hand power to civilians, but were dispersed early last week in a bloody crackdown that killed more than 100 people.

The military council announced that security forces on the streets would be boosted after four people were killed in clashes on Sunday – two in Khartoum and two in Omdurman, just across the Nile river.

Protesters had set up roadblocks across many areas of the capital that the ruling generals have vowed to remove in order to return “life to normal”.

Several shops, fuel stations and some branches of private banks were open in Khartoum, and some public buses were running but most parts of the capital remained closed.

Those who ventured out said they had to earn their livelihood. “If I work it does not mean that I don’t support the revolution,” said bus driver Abdulmajid Mohamed. “I have to work to support my family or else we will have no money.”

The generals have blamed protesters for a deterioration in security in Khartoum and across the country. Lieutenant General Jamaleddine Omar, a military council member, said on state television late on Sunday: “The military council has decided to reinforce the presence of armed forces, RSF [Rapid Support Forces] and other regular forces to help normal life return.”

The RSF has been blamed by witnesses for the killings last week during the clearing of the weeks-long sit-in.

Late Monday the military council said several members of regular security forces had been arrested in connection with the killings, state media reported, adding that the council said those arrested would face justice.

The death toll since the crackdown began on 3 June has reached 118, according to a doctors’ committee linked to the protesters who are pressing the military to hand over power to a civilian administration.

The health ministry, for its part, says 61 people died nationwide in last week’s crackdown, 49 of them from “live ammunition” in Khartoum.


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