SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 8 December 2021, Wednesday |

Al Jazeera’s Sudan bureau chief arrested after protests

Sudanese security forces raided and arrested El Musalmi El Kabbashi, the Khartoum bureau chief of Al Jazeera, on Sunday, the Qatar-based news channel said, a day after street protests across Sudan against a military takeover.

To disperse the protests in Khartoum and other cities, security forces used tear gas and gunfire. According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is affiliated with the protest movement, the number of demonstrators killed on Saturday has risen to six.

Pro-democracy groups led by neighborhood resistance committees are organizing a campaign of civil disobedience and protests against the October 25 coup, with another day of protests planned for November 17.

The coup brought to an end a military-civilian power-sharing arrangement established following the overthrow of autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Western powers, which had supported Sudan’s political transition to elections following Bashir’s ouster, have condemned the military takeover and suspended economic aid.

The European Union condemned “in the strongest terms” Saturday’s violence against peaceful civilian protesters, and said it was “very concerned” about the detention of journalists.

“The military interventions since October 25th have undone much of the progress made under the civilian-led government,” the bloc said in a statement. “This will have serious consequences for the European Union’s support.”

Separately, a group representing refugees and displaced people in western Darfur, where security has deteriorated in recent months, said four civilians had been killed in recent incidents and a refugee camp had been attacked.

Efforts to mobilize opposition to the coup have been hampered by a nationwide mobile internet blackout. On Sunday, a judge issued a third order directing providers to reestablish service.

Since taking power, military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has moved to consolidate his position, replacing key state officials and establishing a new ruling council, which met for the first time on Sunday.

After efforts involving the United Nations to mediate between the military and ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok failed, the council is expected to name a new prime minister.

Hamdok, who is under house arrest, has demanded the release of other high-ranking civilians detained during the coup, as well as a return to power-sharing arrangements ahead of elections in 2023.

According to Al Jazeera, Sudan’s military authorities are responsible for the safety of all its employees.

“Al Jazeera strongly condemns the military’s heinous actions and calls on the authorities to immediately release El Kabbashi and allow its journalists to work freely,” the network said in a statement.