Sudan opposition says leaders deported after talks collapse

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Sudan’s ruling military has deported three members of an opposition movement detained last week in the wake of a deadly raid on a protest sit-in, the movement said on Monday.

The three are members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), one of the country’s main opposition groups and part of an alliance pushing for a handover to civilian rule after the military deposed President Omar al-Bashir in April.

The deportations came with many shops and businesses in the capital Khartoum shut on the second day of a campaign of strikes and civil disobedience aimed at putting pressure on the Transitional Military Council to relinquish power.

The council toppled and arrested Bashir after three decades in power on April 11, before entering negotiations on a transition toward elections with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance, which includes the SPLM-N.

But the talks collapsed last week when security forces stormed a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry that had been the focal point of Sudan’s protest movement for nearly two months.

Yasir Arman, the most prominent of the three men and the deputy head of the SPLM-N, was detained last Wednesday after returning from exile following Bashir’s ouster.

The two others, SPLM-N secretary-general Ismail Jallab and spokesman Mubarak Ardol, were arrested after meeting visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he tried to mediate between the military council and civilian opposition.

A statement from SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar said the three officials had been “denied access their accommodation” and deported in a military plane to Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

“This happened despite their rejection of the forceful deportation,” the statement said, adding that the move showed the military council’s intention “not to hand power to the civilians and not to reach peace”.

The council could not be reached for comment. Abiy said on Monday on Twitter he had spoken to the head of the military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, about “mediation progress”.

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