Sudan to free all political prisoners

AFP-JIJI

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday he will release all political detainees, a move welcomed by the opposition as tensions ease with South Sudan.

“Today, we announce a decision to free all the political prisoners and renew our commitment to all political powers about dialogue,” Bashir said in a half-hour speech opening a new session of Parliament.

“We confirm we will continue our communication with all political and social powers without excluding anyone, including those who are armed, for a national dialogue which will bring a solution to all the issues,” the president said.

Farouk Abu Issa, who heads the opposition alliance of more than 20 parties, said Bashir’s announcement was “a step toward genuine dialogue.”

He said the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which has been fighting government forces for almost two years in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, had been demanding a prisoner release.