UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
SUDAN: Opposition leader reportedly arrested
NAIROBI, 31 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - Sudan's opposition leader, Hasan Abdullah al-Turabi, was arrested on Wednesday, three days after the government launched a crackdown on military officers whom it accused of plotting a coup, international news agencies reported.
According to the agencies, security officials arrested Turabi at about 01:30 local time. Turabi, the leader of the Popular National Congress party, had earlier told reporters that he feared he might be arrested on allegations of involvement in the purported coup attempt.
Contacted for comment, the press attache at the Sudanese embassy in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Neimad Bilal, told IRIN she had no information about the reported arrests.
A former ally of President Umar Hasan al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 military coup, Turabi fell out with the president and was detained in 2001. International news reports said Turabi's son, Isam, had visited him on Wednesday in a prison in the capital, Khartoum.
Meanwhile, eight UN human rights experts were quoted in a UN press release as saying on 26 March that they were "gravely concerned" by the scale of reported human rights abuses and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the western region of Darfur.
The statement said the Fur, Masalit, Dajo, Tunjur, Tama and Zaghawah ethnic groups had been the principal targets of "systematic human rights violations" perpetrated mainly by "government-aligned militias such as the Janjawid, Murahilin and the Popular Defence Forces". It was being alleged, they said, that the government was "encouraging the actions of these militia" in order to effect the forcible displacement of these non-Arab communities of which, since February 2003, 750,000 had been internally displaced, while over 100,000 had fled to neighbouring Chad.
The experts added that the situation had seriously deteriorated recently, with "scores of civilians being killed", and quoted information reporting that in attacks by militias on refugees and displaced people there had been "rape of women and girls, abduction of children, the burning of dozens of villages, looting and the destruction of livestock".
They called on all parties to the conflict to "respect the civilian populations", and affirmed "the absolute necessity of identifying the perpetrators and ensuring that they are held accountable in conformity with international standards".
This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|