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

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