Sudan PM arrested in protest crackdown, officials say

Image copyright Reuters Image caption A Sudanese military source said that Ibrahim had been arrested by the armed forces in connection with the protests Sudanese officials have said a prime minister has been arrested…

Sudan PM arrested in protest crackdown, officials say

Image copyright Reuters Image caption A Sudanese military source said that Ibrahim had been arrested by the armed forces in connection with the protests

Sudanese officials have said a prime minister has been arrested over protests that have rocked the country since 18 December.

The reports come amid strong anti-government demonstrations, with opposition parties claiming that the president had become a dictator.

Two years ago, during the country’s very last uprising, Salah Abdallah Ibrahim was under house arrest.

The former information minister was serving as prime minister after seizing power after general Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

Since the protests began, 18 people have been killed, according to official figures.

Demonstrators have been protesting against rising food and fuel prices, price hikes, high unemployment and the government’s alleged corruption.

State-owned news agency SUNA said Ibrahim had been arrested on Monday by the army in connection with the demonstrations.

Opposition politicians issued a statement expressing their “fierce condemnation” of the arrest.

They demanded that he be released immediately and that new elections be held within six months.

Sudan’s Higher Education Minister Hawa Abdallah has asked Amnesty International to send a human rights team to Sudan to investigate the government’s response to the protests.

Demands for change

Mr Ibrahim did not attend the protests in Khartoum because he had to attend a conference in Eastern Sudan, his office said.

A government source told the AFP news agency that Mr Ibrahim had been arrested after going to Khartoum without permission.

“If he knew who was organising the demonstrations he could have avoided them,” the source said.

According to SUNA, he would remain in custody until investigations proved that he had “pre-empted” the protests.

Sudan’s information minister Faduma Ali El-Mahdi criticised what she called “supposed political movements” over their call for a military coup.

Her comments follow reports that Sudanese army officers had been meeting with opposition leaders in neighbouring Egypt.

In December, protests that were triggered by rising prices turned into a nationwide campaign of violence, bringing government offices and offices of the ruling National Congress Party to a standstill.

President Bashir blames the protests on unnamed “enemies of the state”.

In 2017, Sudan missed a target to reduce its budget deficit from 13% to 7% by the end of 2018.

Sudan’s currency has fallen by nearly 50% over the past year.

The South Sudan-African Development Bank (Sudana) said in August that inflation had risen to 40% due to rising fuel prices and food prices.

Last month, the BBC’s Sadiq El Khdeir was part of a team of foreign reporters who visited Sudan to document the protests and the authorities’ response.

In Khartoum, we reported on three days of demonstrations earlier this month.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in several towns to demand improved living conditions.

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