Sudanese authorities on Monday released three prominent rebels who were detained after a brutal crackdown on protesters last week that left dozens dead in Khartoum, state television reported.
Yasir Arman, deputy chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), was released along with two other leading rebels from the group, Ismail Jalab and Mubarak Ardol, it said, but did not specify when.
Arman arrived in Khartoum on May 26 to take part in talks with Sudan’s ruling generals who took power after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April following months of mass protests against his authoritarian rule.
He was seized on June 5, two days after men in military fatigues raided a weeks-long protest sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital.
Jalab and Ardol were detained from their residences after meeting with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Khartoum on Friday for talks aimed at reviving negotiations between the generals and protest leaders.
The SPLM-N’s armed wing had battled Bashir’s forces in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since 2011.
The rebel group is part of the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella protest movement that led a nationwide campaign against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule.
Arman’s release was one of several conditions set by the Alliance before any fresh negotiations with the generals could begin.
Since Bashir’s ouster, thousands of protesters had camped outside the army complex demanding the new ruling military council hand the reins to a civilian-led administration.
On June 3, a brazen raid on the sit-in left more than hundred men and women dead, according to doctors close to the Alliance, including 40 whose bodies were pulled from the Nile river.
The health ministry says 61 people died nationwide in the crackdown, 49 of them from “live ammunition” in Khartoum.