Khartoum: Leaders from the Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that launched the protest campaign against longtime president Omar Al Bashir, have risen to prominence after years keeping a low profile.
Since the ouster of Al Bashir, some of them have now openly joined thousands of demonstrators camping outside the army headquarters to demand a civilian government.
Below are short profiles of three prominent leaders of the SPA who have led the four-month campaign:
Mohammad Yousuf Ahmad Al Mustafa
A professor of anthropology, 63-year-old Al Mustafa is a longtime critic of Al Bashir who joined the SPA hoping to bring change to his country.
He served as an advisor to the United Nations and was a state minister for labour in Al Bashir’s government in 2005, when Khartoum signed a peace deal with the south.
Al Mustafa was detained several times during Al Bashir’s rule and has emerged as a key figure of the SPA.
On April 11, the day Al Bashir was toppled, he addressed protesters at the army complex and called for the jailing of all regime figures.
“We will continue the struggle... and we will keep the sit-in going,” he said.
“Freedom to us means the total abolition of all laws restricting freedoms and dissolution of all bodies... that violated those freedoms.”
Ahmad Al Rabia
Al Rabia is a maths teacher who joined the SPA in 2013, when the association was newly formed.
The 42-year-old is now a senior member of its secretariat and was jailed for three months this year for his role in the SPA and calling for the president’s ouster.
“I was kept in Kober prison from January to April until protesters let me out after Al Bashir was deposed,” Al Rabia told AFP.
“We are done with the easy part (of toppling Al Bashir). We want to remove the entire regime,” he said.
Mohammad Naji Al Assam
Al Assam, 29, had been detained for three months in the same cell as Al Rabia and was released the day Al Bashir was ousted.
Immediately after his release he joined demonstrators outside the army complex, where he was welcomed by cheering crowds.
“The only guarantee to achieve real change in this country is our presence in the sit-in,” he later told a local television channel.
Al Assam is a member of the SPA’s secretariat and has consistently called for protesters to continue with their sit-in until their demands are met.