November 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman on Wednesday said members of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) were arrested for inciting residents to topple the regime following government decision to raise fuel and electricity price.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, SCoP said the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) has detained its chairman Omer al-Digair and seven leading members on Tuesday.
The opposition party said with al-Digair’s arrest, the number of its detained members has risen to twenty-one members.
Osman, who spoke at the Information Ministry’s regular media forum Wednesday, said SCoP’s members who are found to be involved in the incitement against the regime would be referred to justice and the rest will be released.
In recent months, the SCoP has challenged the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and organized political activities in public and open places calling on the citizens to resist the regime and take to the streets in protest against the deterioration of living conditions at all levels.
Osman downplayed the view that the government austerity measures have undermined the national dialogue process, saying "this is not true".
On Saturday, the largest partner in Sudan’s government, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani criticized the economic measures and described them as “the first nail in the coffin of the national dialogue and its outcome”.
- SCoP leader Omer al-Digair (ST Photo)
Also, a number of political parties participating in the dialogue said the government took its decision at entirely the wrong time, saying this would undermine the dialogue process and raise political tension.
However, Osman said these measures were taken to rescue the Sudanese economy “in order not to repeat the experience which we went through in 2013”.
In September 2013 following the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies, demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese states. Rights groups said that at least 200 people were killed but the government put the death toll at 85.
Last week, the government lifted fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the fall of Sudanese pound in the black market.
Several small-scale protests broke out in several towns across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, Atbara, Wad Madani and Nyala to protest the government’s move.