Sudan opposition says two leaders arrested after unity deal

The opposition deal brings together a number of major groups including the Islamist Umma party and the NCF.

The opposition deal brings together a number of major groups including the Islamist Umma party and the NCF.

Sudanese security forces arrested two prominent opposition leaders late on Saturday, days after they signed an agreement aimed at unifying opposition to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, a leading dissident said.

Seddik Youssef, an official of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), an umbrella group of Sudan’s main opposition parties, told Reuters by telephone that NCF leader Farouk Abu Issa, 81, and human rights lawyer Amin Mekki, 75, had been detained.

A broad spectrum of Sudanese political opposition and armed rebel groups put aside differences to sign a unity agreement on Wednesday that they hope will strengthen their hand in peace talks with the government that are taking place in Addis Ababa.

Though he does not represent a political party, Mekki signed the unity agreement on behalf of a number of non-governmental organizations critical of Bashir’s government, Youssef said.

Security officials were not immediately available for comment.

The opposition deal brings together a number of major groups including the Islamist Umma party and the NCF, an alliance of mostly secular parties. They were joined by a group representing the armed movements of three war-torn regions: Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

A government spokesman said after the deal was signed that “there would be a price” to pay for cooperating with the rebels.

The government is currently negotiating to end a conflict with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which is active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Talks in Addis Ababa resumed on Friday after a four-day suspension.

 
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