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Sudan frees journalists detained covering protests

Fifteen journalists were detained while covering protests in Khartoum and Omdurman. [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 January, 2018

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Sporadic protests have erupted across Sudan after prices of food surged following a jump in the cost of flour due to a shortage of wheat.

Sudan on Monday freed AFP's reporter in Khartoum and a Reuters journalist who were detained last week while covering protests against rising food prices.

Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali, a 51-year-old who has worked for AFP in Khartoum for nearly a decade, was covering the protests on Wednesday in the Sudanese capital's twin city of Omdurman where police broke up a demonstration of 200 protesters demonstrating against rising food prices - notably bread.

He had been arrested along with a journalist from international news agency Reuters and a third colleague.

They had not been allowed contact with their families or employers and authorities said they were being held "for investigation" by Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

"I am free and so are the other journalists," Idris Ali said minutes after his release.

"I'm at home now with my family. During our detention we were treated well," he said, adding that they were held at a detention centre in Khartoum.

Several protesters were also reported to have been detained at the demonstration.

Fifteen journalists were detained while covering protests in Khartoum and Omdurman, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said, including Idris Ali.

Most of the other journalists were released within hours after they were detained, according to RSF.

Three more - Rishan Oshi, Imtinan al-Radi and Magdi al-Agab - were released on Sunday, one of them told AFP.

Sporadic protests have erupted across Sudan after prices of food surged following a jump in the cost of flour due to a shortage of wheat.

Authorities cracked down on similar protests in 2016, and rights groups say dozens were killed by security forces in 2013 protests.

Critics have long accused Khartoum of persecuting the media, with watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranking the country 174th out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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