Washington — A Sudanese rebel leader who returned to Khartoum last week after years in exile has been arrested by the ruling military council.
A family member of Yasir Arman confirmed his arrested in an email seen by VOA's South Sudan In Focus program.
Arman, deputy chairman of a faction of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), flew into Khartoum May 25 after more than 20 years of living in Kenya or in Sudan's restive Blue Nile state and Nuba Mountains area, on the border with South Sudan.
A member of the Sudanese Professional Association, a group spearheading the ongoing protests against the military council, also confirmed Arman's arrest in an interview Wednesday.
Mohammed Nagi al-Asam said paramilitary forces arrested Arman at the temporary offices of the SPLM-N in Khartoum.
"Some groups of the militias of the TMC (transitional military council), the Janjaweed and members of the National Intelligence Security Service have captured and arrested Yasir Arman from the temporary headquarters of the SPLM North,'' Asam said.
The activist said Sudanese security forces beat other members of the SPLM-North who were present during the arrest of the rebel leader in Arkwet, a suburb of Khartoum.
Arman's location unknown
Arman's family said their efforts to locate the rebel leader afterward were not successful. "We went to Shendi Station (in Khartoum) to inquire about the circumstances of his arrest and the charges against him," an email from a relative stated.
The family said an unidentified NISS (National Intelligence Security Service) officer in Khartoum denied that Arman was in their custody and asked the family to contact the agency's headquarters on Airport Street in Khartoum.
Arman returned home last month despite a 2014 death sentence given in absentia.
John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the South Sudan In Focus radio program.