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Opposition figures arrested as strikes start in Sudan

OPPOSITION leaders were arrested in Sudan at the weekend as the military junta faces national strikes and a mass civil disobedience campaign amid ongoing bloodshed and violence.

Three members of a delegation who met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday were detained by security services in night-time raids on Saturday, their aides reported.

Mohamed Esmat was arrested along with Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North leader Ismail Jalab and party spokesman Mubarak Ardol.

Authorities also swooped to detain trade union members ahead of strike action in Sudan’s banking, airport and security industries.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) warned that employers are using threats and intimidation to dissuade them from joining the nationwide strikes.

However, it said the civil disobedience would not stop until the military “transfer power to a civil transitional authority in accordance with the Declaration of Freedom and Change.”

Sudan has been rocked by political instability since protests started last November over the tripling of bread prices. 

The movement led to the fall of Islamist authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir, who stood down in April following a military coup. 

A body called the Transitional Military Council has ruled Sudan since then and refuses to relinquish power.

Talks between the military regime and representatives of the Sudanese opposition were scrapped last week after they reached agreement on a framework for a civilian-led transitional administration but stalled on the issue of the presidency.

Authorities moved against thousands of protesters staging a sit-in near the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, with the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) massacring 108 people.

Opposition forces said more than 40 bodies had been pulled from the River Nile after the bloodshed, during which the RSF went on the rampage, threatening to execute women and forcing people to drink sewage water while being urinated on.

The events have sparked a major turning point in the country’s “peaceful revolution.”

The Sudanese Communist Party has warned of foreign interference, including in the funding and training of the RSF.

An SPA statement said: “The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and will end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television.

“Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world.”

At least one person was killed in clashes as authorities mobilised against protests, firing tear gas and live ammunition. 

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