Sudan: TMC to release jailed rebels, begin talks

By Mohammed Amin

Khartoum (AA) – The Transitional Military Council (TMC) in Sudan has declared the release of all prisoners who took part in rebel movements in recent years, its deputy chair said Monday.

Addressing crowds in the country's capital of Khartoum, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is also chief of the country's Rapid Support Forces, said the TMC chairman ordered the move Sunday night in order to build confidence for an awaited peace process.

The TMC appointed Dagalo to lead talks with rebel movements, with negotiations reportedly soon to follow.

"Our mission is to sit with them [rebels] wherever they are, and to convince them back to Sudan and sit together to solve the causes of the war in Sudan," he said.

Dagalo did not give a certain number of prisoners to be released, though rebel groups have stressed that thousands were currently in government custody.

Denying the existence of any political detainees in the country, he stressed that all such detainees had been freed.

– Opposition slams TMC's rejection of mediation

The spokesman of the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) — which leads the protests in Sudan since last December — Ismail Altaj denounced the TMC's rejection of mediation by Ethiopia.

Addressing a press conference in Khartoum on Monday, Altaj accused the TMC of attempting to abort regional and international efforts to settle the current crisis.

"We regretted the speech of the TMC yesterday and its rejection of the Ethiopian initiative that aimed at helping the Sudanese to overcome the current crisis and the stateless situation we are living in that caused by the TMC since June 3rd," he said.

"We accepted the Ethiopian initiative despite [that] it doesn’t meet all our demands because we want to avoid the fate of the instability that is facing our country, but the TMC has refused, so we hold the TMC responsible of any consequences that may result due to its decision and the probable negative impact on the region around us," he added.

On Sunday, the TMC rejected the Ethiopian initiative to mediate between it and the opposition, considering it a violation to the country's sovereignty and an attempt to impose a specific solutions.

The opposition alliance had accepted Ethiopia's offer.