KHARTOUM: Sudanese security forces have arrested two prominent rebels and an opposition leader, a day after they met the Ethiopian premier during his reconciliation mission to Khartoum, their aides said Saturday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 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 a deadly crackdown left dozens of people dead in the capital this week.
Among the protest movement delegates he met were opposition politician Mohamed Esmat and a leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Ismail Jalab.
Sudanese security forces later arrested both men without giving any reason, their aides told AFP on Saturday.
Esmat was arrested on Friday soon after his meeting with Abiy.
Jalab was arrested from his residence early on Saturday.
“A group of armed men came in vehicles at 3:00 am (1:00 GMT) and took away Ismail Jalab .. without giving any reason,” Jalab aide Rashid Anwar told AFP, adding that SPLM-N spokesman Mubarak Ardol was also detained.
“We don’t 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 rebel groups with the organizers of the mass protests which have gripped Sudan since December last year.
The arrest of Jalab comes just days after the SPLM-N’s deputy leader, Yasir Arman, was seized from his home in Khartoum.
The rebel number two had only returned to Khartoum from exile late last month.
The SPLM-N has led uprisings among non-Arab ethnic minorities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since 2011, that Sudan’s military rulers had vowed to end peacefully after their overthrow of longtime president Omar Al-Bashir in April.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s National Umma Party condemned the detention of politicians and demanded that they all be released.
A key protest group on Saturday announced a nationwide "civil disobedience" campaign it said would run until Sudan's ruling generals transfer power to a civilian government.
The call by the Sudanese Professionals Association, which first launched protests against longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir, came days after a bloody crackdown on demonstrators left dozens dead in Khartoum and crushed hopes for a swift democratic transition.
"The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television," the SPA said in a statement.
"Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world."