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Sudan’s NISS transfers blind Darfuri sheikh to Khartoum

April 9 - 2018 ZALINGEI
Sheikh Matar Younis being detained by security officers in Zalingei, April 4, 2018 (RD)
Sheikh Matar Younis being detained by security officers in Zalingei, April 4, 2018 (RD)

According to reports from Central Darfur, detained Sheikh Matar Younis has been transferred from Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur, to Khartoum.

Sheikh Younis, a blind cleric who is over 60 years old, was detained by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) from his home in the Central Darfur capital on Monday April 2.

“He was taken to the NISS offices in Zalingei. Yet, reliable sources have confirmed that he was transferred to the NISS detention facilities in Khartoum North on Saturday,” El Shafee Abdallah, the coordinator of the displaced camps of Central Darfur, told Radio Dabanga.

 “We are concerned about his life as the sheikh has a weak health,” he said.

The camp coordinator called on the security authorities to immediately release Sheikh Younis or bring him to justice, and urged human rights organisations “to intervene and rescue the blind sheikh”.

'Young Rebels'

Sheikh Younis is both a Muslim cleric and an activist. He is a scholar at the Great Mosque of Zalingei and heading a Koran School in his home town. The sheikh is also the founder and head of the Young Rebels for Freedom and Democracy assocation.

In 2009, NISS officers prevented him from preaching at the Hasaheesa Mosque in the Central Darfur capital. Talking to Radio Dabanga, the sheikh explained that he is used to talking about events concerning his community during Friday prayers: ‘We need to tell the people what happens with the refugees and the displaced, the killing of innocent people and the continuous plundering of properties. We have to address these issues,” he said.

Security agents attempted to arrest Younis in the stadium of Zalingei in February 2014, but the crowd present at the stadium prevented the action.

In 2013 and 2014, the sheikh reported to this station about the Sudanese authorities recruiting young Darfuris to join the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in South Kordofan.

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