Khartoum — National Umma Party (NUP) deputy, Dr Mariam El Sadig El Mahdi, has been summarily arrested on her return to Sudan after attending the historic Paris conference.
Dr El Mahdi, Daughter of NUP leader El Sadig El Mahdi, was travelling with Qatar Air from Paris, via Doha. She was removed from the aircraft after it landed at Khartoum by agents of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)
Dr El Mahdi was a force majeure in organising last week's summit that was the first face-to-face meeting of the NUP and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of the main rebel movements) leaderships. She was also an important member of the NUP delegation in Paris.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga in the early hours of Tuesday morning, NUP secretary Sara Noubella said the party's delegation awaiting Dr Mariam's return at Khartoum airport became suspicious after all the other passengers disembarked from the flight - which landed before midnight - but she was not among them. Her mobile phone was also turned off. "Dr El Mahdi has been taken to an as yet unknown location."
It is noteworthy that in an interview with Radio Dabanga in Paris, the NUP leader El Sadig El Mahdi (previously detained by the Khartoum regime) himself said that he will not directly return to Khartoum from Paris, but will visit Egypt first.
"This is not because I fear I will be arrested again, but because there is still much work to do. We have to enhance and broaden our regional and international contacts to lobby for support of the Paris Declaration. Cairo is a very good base for our campaign... I am not afraid to be detained again, because my last detention has brought us a lot of credibility and political capital. Jailing me again will only isolate the ruling party more."
El Mahdi mentioned that his sister would indeed be returning to Khartoum, but not when. Radio Dabanga will update this story as information becomes available.