Sudan arrests Darfur actors after ‘political’ drama

Sudanese security officers burst into a theatre in the cultural capital of war-torn Darfur and arrested three actors when the curtain came down on a play with political undertones, a fellow player said on Monday.

The incident happened on Sunday night in Nyala, the largest city in Darfur, where actors staged a Sudanese play about men sitting in a cave who start a dialogue on how to manage their lives and elect one of them to be a president.

“As soon as the show finished, security came into the theatre and arrested the three men. They are still being detained,” said Haitham Djallal al-Dein, the leading man who appeared alongside them in the production.

He named the three as Mutasim Adam, Ali Awad and Drieg al-Duma.

There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Dein said the troupe performed the same play at an arts festival in Khartoum before staging the current re-run in the South Darfur state capital Nyala, four years after its first showing.

Sudan’s interim Constitution, in place during the six-year implementation of a 2005 peace agreement that ended 21 years of civil war between north and south, upholds freedom of the press and expression.

But stringent censorship is practised daily in the media, and security agents maintain a tight grip on the government-held city of Nyala.

International Criminal Court judges are looking at evidence presented in July to decide whether to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir on 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Conflict broke out most recently in western Sudan in 2003 when “African” rebels took up arms against Khartoum and state-backed militias.

UN officials have said up to 300 000 people have died and more than 2,2-million have been displaced. Khartoum puts the number of dead at 10 000.

Aid workers have complained that government restrictions on their operations in South Darfur state have increased in recent months. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

The South African connection: How mercenaries aided Trump ally in...

The UN found that Trump ally Erik Prince violated the Libyan arms embargo. Here are the South Africans the report says helped him to do so

Q&A Sessions: African court ‘will be a tough job’ — Dumisa...

Lawyer, author and political activist Dumisa Ntsebeza talks to Nicolene de Wee about his appointment as judge of the African Court on Human and...

More top stories

In a bizarre twist VBS liquidators sue KPMG for R863mn

In filed court documents, the VBS liquidators are blaming auditing firm KPMG’s negligence for the alleged looting of the bank

Snip, snip: Mboweni eyes wage bill, other future spending cuts

Last year, the finance minister noted that increased government spending has failed to promote growth over the past decade

Budget: Mboweni pegs recovery hopes on vaccine efficacy, lower public...

The treasury forecasts 3.3% growth, but warns this will fall to 1.6% if the fledgeling vaccination programme fails to stem successive Covid waves

READ IT IN FULL: Mboweni’s 2021 budget speech

Read the finance minister's address on the budget for 2021

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…