Sudan opposition leader arrested after latest anti-government protests

Sudan opposition leader arrested after latest anti-government protests
The Sudanese Congress Party said on Friday that its leader, Omar el-Deigir, was taken in by security forces hours after protests.
2 min read
29 December, 2018
At least 19 protesters have been killed since anti-government demonstrations began on December 19 [AP]

A top Sudanese opposition leader was arrested on Friday in the latest round of anti-government protests that took place in several cities across the Northeast African country.

The Sudanese Congress Party said that its chief, Omar al-Digeir, was arrested a few hours after demonstrations kicked off in Omdurman, Sudan's second largest city.

"He has been taken to an unknown location," the party said in a statement.

According to the Sudanese Writers' Association,  popular poet Mohamed Taha was also arrested on Friday after participating in protests in the country's capital, Khartoum.

Friday's demonstrations were the latest in a wave of protests that began on December 19 in response to rising food costs, and fuel shortages. Protesters have since started calling for the end of President Omar al-Bashir's 29-year rule.

Sudan is facing an acute foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation, despite Washington lifting an economic embargo in October 2017.

Inflation is running at 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged in value, while shortages of bread and fuel have regularly hit several cities.

Bashir has sought to tamp down the discontent by vowing to "take real reforms" to solve Sudan's economic woes.

But his statements appear to have done little to appease the protesters angered over economic hardship.

Sudan's government has said that as many as 19 people have been killed since protests began on 19 December. Amnesty International, however, says that 37 protesters have been killed.