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The New Arab

Sudan rebel leader makes surprise return despite death sentence

Arman was seen as a key rival to Bashir in a 2010 presidential election [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2019

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A Sudanese rebel leader has made a surprise return to the country after living eight years in exile after the ousting of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir - his former rival.

A Sudanese rebel leader has made a surprise return to the country after the ousting of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, his former rival.

Yasir Arman, who is the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM–N), arrived at Khartoum airport on Sunday, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported following an eight-year exile from the country.

"I have come to join the trench with Sudanese people… to build a new system and democratic state based on citizenship - without discrimination," Arman said.

"I call for a civilian government that is able to move Sudan from war to peace and from totalitarianism to democracy,"

He added that he was willing to meet with anyone "who opposed the Bashir regime from the beginning or in his final days".

Arman, who was sentenced to death by Bashir, fought against the Sudanese government in the 1980s with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

After South Sudan gained independence in 2011, he formed the northern branch of the group and remained in the north to continue to challenge Khartoum.

He was seen as a key rival to Bashir in a 2010 presidential election, which he eventually dropped out of citing fears of electoral fraud.

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