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Al-Jazeera says its Sudan bureau chief arrested

November 14, 2021

Al-Musallami al-Kabbashi was arrested from his home in Sudan, according to the Qatari network, a day after mass protests across the country against last month's military coup.

Sudanese youths wave the Sudanese flag
The October 25 coup worsened the country's fragile planned transition to democratic ruleImage: AFP/Getty Images

The Qatar-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera said on Sunday that its bureau chief in Sudan was detained by security forces.

Sudanese security forces raided the home of Al-Musallami al-Kabbashi and arrested him, Al-Jazeera said on Twitter. 

The broadcaster did not provide further details about the arrest.

Anti-coup protests rock Sudan

Al-Kabbashi's home was raided just a day after mass anti-coup protests erupted across Sudan.

Security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds in the capital, Khartoum, and nearby Omdurman city.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which supports the pro-democracy movement, said five people had died, with most succumbing to gunshot wounds. Several others had been injured during the protests.

What is the political situation in Sudan?

The Sudanese military seized power by dissolving the transitional government — that had been in place after Sudan's long-term authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019 — and arrested dozens of officials and politicians. 

On November 4, Sudan's army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, ordered the release of four civilian-military ministers after the US and UN mounted severe pressure on the eastern African country. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had urged Burhan to continue the democratic transition shortly before the decision to release the ministers.

The next day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet slammed the coup and decried the excessive use of force by security forces. 

She also expressed concerns about "numerous" arrests and disappearances of civil society and protest leaders, journalists and activists.

Rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also repeatedly called for an end to arbitrary arrests.

Despite calls for a return to democracy, Burhan formed a new transitional council and appointed himself as head of Sudan's interim governing body on November 12.

He included some civilians in his council, but sidelined representation from the political bloc with whom the military shared power since 2019.

West denounces Burhan's tough grip

In a joint statement on Friday, the US, European Union, Britain, Norway and Switzerland said they were "gravely concerned" by Burhan's latest move that tightened his grip on the country.

"It runs contrary to the aspirations of the Sudanese people and the political and economic stability of the country," the statement said.

The Western powers also urged security forces "to respect the rights of Sudanese citizens to freely express their views" ahead of another round of demonstrations for Saturday.

The US has suspended a $700 million (€611 million) package of economic support meant to assist democratic transition in Sudan.

rm/fb (Reuters, AP)