A Sudanese rebel chief said Monday he was deported from Khartoum to South Sudan with two comrades hours after authorities claimed to have released the three men from detention.
“I was deported against my will… I have not been released; I have been deported from my country,” Yasir Arman, deputy chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told an AFP reporter at a hotel in South Sudan’s capital Juba.
Sudanese state television reported earlier on Monday that Arman — together with fellow leading rebels Ismail Jalab and Mubarak Ardol — had been released from custody.
“I came together with comrade Ismail Khamis Jalab and comrade Mubarak Ardol… I just want to confirm I have been deported against my will,” Arman told AFP, adding he had been well received by authorities in Juba.
Arman said on Twitter he had been “deported against my will by a military helicopter from Khartoum to Juba.
“I was not aware of where they were taking me. I asked them many times,” he added, alleging that he, Jalab and Ardol had been tied up for their flight.
Arman had arrived in Khartoum in late May to take part in talks with a military council that in April toppled longtime president Omar al-Bashir, after months of protests against his 30-year-rule.
But protesters remained outside army headquarters in Khartoum to demand that the military council hand over to civilian rule, before they were dispersed in a crackdown that left dozens dead.
The alleged deportation comes on the second day of a nationwide civil disobedience campaign in Sudan, in protest against the crackdown.
Arman’s SPLM-North is the political wing of a rebel movement that has fought against Sudanese security forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states for much of the last decade.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan to create the world’s newest country in July 2011.