The USA has called on the Sudanese government to release all the displaced people who were detained in Nierteti in Central Darfur over the past two weeks.
In a press statement on Friday, Elizabeth Trudeau, Director of the Office of Press Relations of the US State Department, says that the US “is gravely concerned about the Sudanese government’s ongoing detention of at least 15 Darfuri individuals, including one Sudanese national employee of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid)”.
The detentions followed a visit by US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, to North and Central Darfur in late July. Booth met and spoke with a number of displaced in Nierteti on 27 July.
Four days later, security agents held five of the people the US envoy had met. In the following weeks, ten more were detained. Five of them have been released, Radio Dabanga reported on Wednesday.
“Many others who were not detained were nonetheless questioned by security officials about the nature of their contact with the Special Envoy,” the US statement reads.
“The United States immediately expressed its concern about the reported detentions to senior Sudanese officials, and we call on the Government of Sudan to immediately release all of those detained. These actions are particularly unfortunate as they undercut the government of Sudan initially granting permission for the special envoy’s fact-finding visit and allowing him to travel to areas and speak with individuals of his choosing. Such first-hand knowledge is important to shaping future US engagement with the Government of Sudan and opposition groups and leaders regarding Darfur.
“As Sudan seeks to pursue an inclusive national political dialogue, the Sudanese people need to be free to voice their opinions. The United States urges the Government of Sudan to respect its citizens’ rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including by the press, as these are vital elements for an environment conducive to an inclusive national dialogue for which all continue to work,” the statement concludes.