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Chadian opposition leader arrested in Sudan

December 1, 2011 (PARIS) — The Chadian opposition today accused the Sudanese security service of arresting one of its leading figures who remained in Khartoum despite their departure from Sudan since the normalization between Khartoum and Ndjamena in January 2010.

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Chadian URF rebels (AFP)

Abdelawahid Aboud Makaye, Second Vice-President of the Union of Resistance Forces UFR led by Timan Erdimi, was arrested by the Sudanese authorities in Khartoum on 27 November. The opposition alliance further says his arrest was requested by the Chadian security service.

Makaye who heads the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development- Fundamental (UFDD-F), participated in the unsuccessful attack on N’Djamena in February 2008.

His presence in Khartoum pushed some to speculate he had been recruited to fight in Abyei besides the Massaliet militias. Makaye belongs to the Chadian el-Salamat tribe, an Arab ethnic group.

UFR leader Timan Erdemi confirmed the arrest in a statement released from Doha on Thursday stressing that Makaye’s "aides, and family members failed to get any contact with him either directly or through a lawyer or a doctor".

The opposition leader urged the Sudanese government to release him immediately. He also called on France, the United States, the African Union and the United Nations to intervene to prevent his extradition to Ndjamena.

He further appealed to human rights groups to campaign for his release and to lobby western governments to secure the freedom of Makaye and other opposition members detained illegally in Ndjamena and Khartoum.

Sudan received the Chadian opposition movements after accusing Ndjamena of supporting rebel groups in Darfur in 2005. The two countries were on the brink of war after different attacks carried out by rebel groups from both sides on the capitals of the two countries between 2006-2009.

However the two regimes agreed in January 2010 to normalise relations and to stop any support to rebel groups. Ndjamena and Khartoum moved rebel groups and prevented their presence insides their territories.

Despite Khartoum’s anger after the return of a rebel leader to Sudan from Libya through the Chadian territory, the Sudanese government renews day after day its support to the President Deby. President Omer al-Bashir asked the head of the new Libyan transitional authority to normalize relations with Chad despite its support to Gaddafi.

Since last year the leaders of the Chadian opposition have been hosted in Qatar as Doha proposed to sponsor political talks between them and Ndjamena. However, President Deby declined any peace process. In return, he offered positions to those who are willing to return.

The rebels say Chadian and Sudanese security services continue to target their members despite their acceptance to lay down weapons and to engage in a political process with the regime.

They cite the case of Colonel Adouma Hassaballah, first vice-president of the UFR who has been missing since December 2010 after his arrival in Addis Ababa with a Sudanese passport. They also say that Djbrine Assali, a trade union leader has been detained in Khartoum since August 2011.