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Opposition leaders arrested in Sudan after meeting Ethiopian PM

The opposition demanded that the military rulers take responsibility for the bloodshed

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Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C-L) meets with the chief of Sudan's ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (C-R), in Khartoum on June 7, 2019.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed meets with the chief of Sudan's ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in Khartoum

Two Sudanese rebel leaders were arrested early on Saturday, opposition sources said, shortly after meeting visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is trying to mediate in a crisis threatening a transition to democracy.

Abiy had on Friday urged Sudan’s military rulers and civilian opposition to exercise “bravery” in trying to agree steps towards democracy after the worst bloodshed since the overthrow in April of President Omar al-Bashir.

The Ethiopian premier visited days after Sudanese forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum where demonstrators were demanding civilian rule. Dozens of people have been killed since Monday.

While no breakthrough was announced at the end of Abiy’s one-day visit, an aide to the Ethiopian prime minister said the talks went well and that Abiy would be returning to Sudan soon.

The ruling Transitional Military Council thanked Ethiopia on Saturday for its mediation efforts, state news agency SUNA said.

The TMC expressed its “openness and keenness to negotiate to reach satisfactory understandings that will lead to a national consensus…, leading to the establishment of a democratic transition,” SUNA said.

Opposition leaders arrested

However, two opposition figures who were at Friday’s meeting with Abiy said Ismail Jallab, secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and the armed group’s spokesman Mubarak Ardol were detained a few hours later.

Abiy offered to mediate after the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance’s talks with the TMC over who will lead a transition period before elections had ground to a halt, then collapsed altogether after the raid on the protest camp.

Opposition medics say 113 people were killed in the storming of the camp and subsequent security crackdown. The government has put the week’s death toll at 61, including three members of the security services.

On Wednesday, SPLM-N deputy head Yasir Arman was detained by security services at his house in Khartoum, the organisation said. He had returned from exile after Bashir was toppled by the military, 30 years after he took power in a bloodless coup.

Arman had been sentenced to death in absentia for his part in a rebellion against Bashir’s government that started in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile in 2011.

The arrest of Jallab and Ardol came hours after Mohammad Esmat, another DFCF member, was taken into custody after he met with Abiy.

There was no immediate comment from the TMC on the reported arrests.

“This amounts to a practical response from the military council that effectively rejects the Ethiopian prime minister’s mediation effort,” Khalid Omar Yousef, a DFCF leader, told Reuters after Esmat’s arrest.

Yousef said that Abiy had proposed setting up a transitional council comprised of eight civilians and seven military officers with a rotating presidency.

The opposition demanded that the military rulers take responsibility for the bloodshed, allow an international investigation into the violence and free political prisoners, Yousef added. The Sudanese opposition would not agree to any deal before all of its conditions are met, he said.

The SPLM-N includes many fighters who sided with South Sudanese rebels in decades of civil war fuelled by ethnicity, oil and ideology that ended in a 2005 peace deal.

But they were left inside Sudan when that agreement paved the way to the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

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North Africa

Jailed Egyptian ex-president Morsi dies after court collapse

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted.” -Judicial source

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Jailed Egyptian ex-president Morsi dies after court collapsing
Ousted (now late) Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Ahmed Omar / Anadolu Agency

Former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in a Cairo hospital after fainting during a session in court, judicial and security sources said.

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

The official Al-Ahram news website also reported the death of Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising before the army toppled him in July 2013.

While he was president, Morsi issued a temporary constitutional declaration that granted him unlimited powers and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts as a pre-emptive move against the expected dissolution of the second constituent assembly by the Mubarak-era judges.

The new constitution that was then hastily finalised by the Islamist-dominated constitutional assembly, presented to the president, and scheduled for a referendum, before the Supreme Constitutional Court could rule on the constitutionality of the assembly, was described by independent press agencies not aligned with the regime as an “Islamist coup”.

This led to an uproar that contributed to his government being ousted by Abdelfatah Al-Sisi, the incumbent president.

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Africa News & Updates

Key Bouteflika ally, Ali Haddad jailed for six months in Algeria

Haddad, who owns Algeria’s largest private construction company, is the first high-profile figure with ties to Bouteflika to be jailed

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Ali Haddad, pro-Bouteflika businessman and main funders of Bouteflika's electoral campaigns is seen in a car after arrested

A key backer of Algeria’s former leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika and one of the country’s top businessmen, Ali Haddad, was jailed for six months Monday for holding two passports, state television reported. Haddad was arrested in late March on the border with Tunisia, in possession of two passports and undeclared currency, days before Bouteflika resigned in the face of mass protests.

Haddad, who owns Algeria’s largest private construction company, is the first high-profile figure with ties to Bouteflika to be jailed since the president stepped down. He was found guilty of the “unjustified procurement of administrative documents” and also fined 50,000 dinars, state television reported.

Described by Forbes as one of Algeria’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Haddad is widely perceived to have used his links to Bouteflika to build his business empire. The businessman had denied breaking the law and said he obtained his second passport legally after seeking an interview with the then prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

The ex-premier and Haddad are among many businessmen and former politicians caught up in a separate anti-corruption investigation launched since the president stepped down. Earlier this month Haddad’s lawyer, Khaled Bourayou, decried a “political trial” and told journalists the passport case had no legal basis.

The sentence is significantly lower than the 18 months term and a fine of 100,000 dinars requested by the prosecutor. Hassane Boualem, then director of titles and secure documents at the interior ministry, was given a two-month suspended sentence and fined 20,000 for issuing Haddad’s second passport in 2016.

He told the court he was following the orders of his superiors – interior ministry head Hocine Mazouz, Sellal and Algeria’s current premier Noureddine Bedoui – who were not investigated over the affair.

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North Africa

UNSMIL welcomes Al-Sarraj’s initiative to end conflict in Tripoli

UNSMIL also said it “offers its good offices to assist the country to emerge from its long state of transition towards a period of peace, stability and prosperity.”

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Fighters loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) open fire from their position

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has welcomed the initiative launched by Head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, to end the conflict which has lasted for two months in Tripoli.

In a statement released on Sunday the Mission said “UNSMIL welcomes the initiative, and any other initiative proposed by any of Libya’s major actors.”

UNSMIL also said it “offers its good offices to assist the country to emerge from its long state of transition towards a period of peace, stability and prosperity.”

On Sunday, Al-Sarraj unveiled a seven-point initiative “to resolve the Libyan crisis” during a speech in which he discussed the developments in the country considering what he called “the attack on Tripoli.”

He said the initiative includes “holding a Libyan national conference, in coordination with the UN mission in Libya, that gathers all the national powers and the people’s representatives from all parts of country.”

According to Al-Sarraj, part of what would be agreed upon during the conference includes a road map for the upcoming stage and the establishment of a constitutional base to hold the elections.

“The conference will also call upon the UN Security Council and the international community to support its outcomes,” Al-Sarraj added.

There have been clashes in Tripoli between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and militias of GNA after LNA launched a military operation in the capital on April 4. LNA’s operation aims to eliminate militias and terrorist groups that dominated the capital since 2011.

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