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Sudan to release detained journalists 'soon': Official

Sudanese authorities will release all detained journalists "in the coming few hours", according to a Sudanese official on Saturday.

"All journalists held during recent incidents will be released in the coming few hours," Mamoun Hasan Ibrahim, a state minister at the Information Ministry, said in statements carried by the official SUNA news agency.

He, however, did not give any further details.

On Wednesday, President Omar al-Bashir pledged to set free all journalists arrested by security forces during recent anti-regime protests in the country.

Since popular demonstrations erupted across Sudan on Dec. 19, several journalists have been arrested — or summoned for questioning — by the security services, according to the non-governmental Network of Sudanese Journalists.

READ: Sudanese security forces use tear gas to break up women's protest 

The NGO puts the total number of detained journalists at 13, including Adam Mahdi, who has reportedly been slapped with a three-month prison term.

Sudanese officials say around 31 people have been killed since the protests began almost two months ago, although the opposition puts the number at closer to 50.

Last month, al-Bashir — in power since 1989 — pledged to carry out urgent economic reforms amid continued calls by the opposition to protest.

A nation of 40 million, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of some three quarters of its oil output — its main source of foreign currency — following the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

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