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Salva Kiir tries to calm down angered mob in Sudan after arrests

December 7 - 2009 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga) - The leader of South Sudan, vice president Salva Kiir, calls for his people to ‘remain calm and to exercise ultimate restrain’ after the arrest of SPLM politicians in Khartoum. The SPLM leader addressed the media through a press release briefly after his SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum called for continuing the struggle in Khartoum protesting the ruling National Congress Party of President Omar al Bashir.

Fellow Sudanese Citizens and Friends, I take this opportunity to address the nation on the current political situation in our country. You are all aware that this morning the political situation in the country has taken yet another shocking direction. Members of the SPLM leadership, constitutional post holders and members of the national legislature in Khartoum have been illegally arrested and this prompted us to call for an emergency meeting of the SPLM leadership where it was resolved to use all the necessary means to ensure that the country does not reverse to war. These arrest are not only provocative but unjustified because the interim National Constitution of the Sudan (INC) and the CPA allow for peaceful and democratic procession to express political opinion.

In this regard, the SPLM and other political parties countrywide have been pressurizing the NCP to repeal those laws that inhibit the democratic process and for the current National Assembly to pass the necessary laws that foster full democratic transformation of the country. Unfortunately, the NCP leadership has been resisting constitutional obligations by using their mechanical majority in both organs of government to pursue their own political agenda. This implicitly maintains the status quo and old mentality of doing business contrary to the letter and spirit of the CPA. In order to normally proceed with the implementation of the CPA, I call upon the NCP leadership to extend life-span of this current Assembly to enable it pass the necessary laws required for smooth transition to democracy.

Fellow citizens, the SPLM is committed to peace and stability in the country and accept such procession as an expression of the free will of the people. We therefore, call upon the NCP leadership to unconditionally release all detainees who include the SPLM Secretary General, his deputy and other comrades and any other Sudanese who were arrested this morning. We also hope that these citizens of the country have not been mishandled during the period of detention. Those officers who arrested our members should be brought to books. It should be noted that any continuation in the arbitrary detention of people will only worsen matters and will not serve the peace and stability of the country.

Finally, we call upon all Sudanese people to remain calm and to exercise ultimate restrain and exercise their constitutional rights of expression within the law. The SPLM and the NCP should jointly move quickly to work together to resolve the outstanding issues of the CPA in order to allow the democratic transformation process to ensue. I have just spoken with President Al-Bashir and we both have agreed to maintain calm and restrain during this critical moment of our history. President Bashir has reassured me that all detainees will be released. We have also discussed the need to urgently pass all the pending laws as soon as possible by the current Assembly.

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