Two prominent Sudanese leaders critical of military detained | News

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Khalid Omer Yousif and Wagdi Salih were previously involved in a taskforce that acted against bureaucrats linked to deposed leader Omar al-Bashir.

Two prominent Sudanese political figures who held top positions in the civilian administration before a military takeover in October have been arrested, their Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition said in a statement on Wednesday.

The arrests mark an extension of a crackdown on critics of the military and follow those of dozens of activists linked to a protest movement against the October 25 coup.

The two officials detained, Khalid Omer Yousif and Wagdi Salih, had previously been involved in a task force that seized property and fired bureaucrats linked to the regime of Omar al-Bashir, who fell to a popular uprising in 2019.

Yousif also served as a cabinet minister in a civilian government under a power-sharing agreement between the military and the FFC.

Across Sudan, some 105 people were being held without charges over political activity, most of them members of local resistance committees detained in Khartoum’s Soba prison, Samir Sheikh Idris, a spokesman for an activist lawyers’ group, told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

Some 2,000 people had been detained and released on bail in connection with demonstrations since the coup, Idris said.

Sudan’s public prosecutors’ office did not respond to a request for comment.

The upheaval in Sudan worsened last month following the resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was the civilian face of the transitional government during the past two years.

The prime minister, who was deposed in the October coup only to be reinstated a month later under heavy international pressure, stepped down on January 2 after his efforts to reach a compromise failed.

The country, which was already in the grip of a dire economic crisis before the coup, has seen vital foreign aid cut as part of the international community’s condemnation of the takeover.

Task force accused of overreach

Sources from Yousif’s Sudanese Congress Party said he was arrested from the party headquarters by security forces and taken to the North Khartoum police station.

Tweets from Salih’s account said he was taken to the same station and then Omdurman Prison, along with another member of the task force and was under investigation regarding a charge of “breach of trust”.

Earlier this week, a committee appointed by military leaders to review the work of the task force accused it of overreach, citing the improper seizure of companies and cars.

Sudanese anti-coup protestersSudanese anti-coup protesters take part in a demonstration calling for civilian rule and justice for protesters killed since last year’s coup, in the al-Diyum neighborhood of the capital Khartoum on February 7, 2022 [AFP]

Firings the task force had enacted in the central bank, judiciary and foreign ministry have been reversed.

Thousands of Sudanese marched against military rule on Monday in Khartoum and other cities, with some saying they were concerned about the return to government of members of the deposed Bashir regime.

Medics aligned with the protest movement said at least 79 people have been killed as security forces have moved to break up protests with tear gas and gunfire. The military and the police say peaceful protests are allowed, and that casualties are being investigated.

Further demonstrations are planned for Thursday and Monday.

The United States, which suspended $ 700m in assistance to Sudan after the coup, has warned that a continued crackdown by the authorities would have “consequences”.





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