Sudanese rebel chief Omar el-Digeir was arrested by security forces after a crackdown on new anti-government protests held across Sudan on Friday, his Sudanese Congress Party said.
The protests were the latest in a wave of demonstrations that began on December 19.
Sudanese police broke up several protests held after Friday prayers, as security agents arrested the top opposition leader.
“Omar el-Digeir, president of the Sudanese Congress Party, was captured by security forces at 5:45 p.m. local time on Friday night and taken to an unknown location,” the party’s leadership said in a statement on its official Facebook page.
On Friday, a government official said that police had captured a group of Darfur rebels belonging to Sudan Liberation Army-Abdel Wahid group that had plans to unleash violence during demonstrations.
Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19 after a government decision to raise the price of bread.
Angry crowds have taken to the streets and in ensuing clashes with anti-riot police, 19 people have been killed so far, according to government figures. The UN on Friday called on the authorities in Sudan to investigate the deaths.
Rebel groups have been fighting Sudanese forces in the western region of Darfur since 2003.
The region erupted into conflict when ethnic minority insurgents rebelled, complaining the region was being economically and politically marginalized by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.