Home | News    Friday 29 September 2006

Sudanese policemen held hostage by ex-Darfur rebels in Khartoum

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Sept 28, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — Members of the former rebel SLM- Minnawi took three police officers hostage after two of their militants were arrested by the Sudanese police, the French RFI radio reported.

According to a report broadcasted by RFI from Khartoum, members of the former rebel group of Minni Minawi kidnapped three police officers from a police station in Omdurman in retaliation of the arrest of two SPM members by the police.

A member of the SLM leadership, Abdelhafi Mustafa Musa, told RFI that while SLM members were organizing a Ramadan Iftar (fast breaking) in the SLM office, the police arrested two members sent to collect some items for the iftar.

Some SLM members went to the police station requesting the release of the detained SLM member; after what they kidnapped three police officers to the SLM office.

Musa indicated that the three police officers are released after the intervention of the SLM leadership and they are waiting for their people to be freed.

Witnesses asked by RFI report that there was gun fire in the streets.

"The situation in Darfur is becoming worse and worse, that it has now reached Khartoum is just another proof of how bad things are," Pronk said.

Pronk said at least one person was killed in the shootout, but other reports would not confirm if someone died.

The police general al-Fatih al-Tigani, director of the Khartoum police told the official SUNA that an armed group attacked the police station of central of Omdurman and the police officers arrested the assailants without elaborating.

The SLM is the only rebel group to have signed the May peace agreement. Its leader, Minni Minnawi, was sworn in last month in Khartoum as an assistant to President Omar al-Bashir, a post that also would eventually make him the head of a semiautonomous government in Darfur under the peace deal.

The Darfur conflict began in early 2003, when ethnic African tribes revolted against the Khartoum government, which was accused of unleashing Arab militiamen blamed for rapes and killings. At least 200,000 people have died and more than 2 million people have been displaced.

(RFI/ST)

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