Sudanese sources said on Wednesday that the UAE authorities have detained the head of Sudan's National Border Commission, Arabi21 has reported. Dr Moaz Tango is also a member of Sudan's delegation of negotiators and he was in the Emirates to participate in official talks in Abu Dhabi, which mediates between Sudan and Ethiopia on border issues.
The UAE authorities are said to have claimed that Tango was Covid-19 positive and shouldn't take part in the talks. However, the delegation was surprised by this, because he tested negative for the virus twice when in the Sudanese Embassy.
The same sources indicated that after the end of this round of negotiations, the authorities in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, prevented the Sudanese official from leaving. He is still, it is said, being held there.
Dr Tango is the most prominent negotiator in the Sudanese delegation, which prompted Khartoum to speculate that his exclusion from the talks was a manoeuvre by the UAE in collusion with Ethiopia.
However, another source told Arabi21 that Tango's family denied that he has been detained in Abu Dhabi. "He travelled with the Sudanese delegation as scheduled," they explained, "but the UAE authorities did not detain him or take any measure against him in this regard."
The family pointed out that Tango did not return from Abu Dhabi because he wanted to rest. They confirmed that he is in good health and is asymptomatic at the moment.
Arabi21 contacted the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further details, but has received no reply. However, a spokesman for the ministry did issue an official comment on Tuesday about the UAE initiative to resolve the conflict with Ethiopia. Ambassador Mansour Boulad noted that Sudan welcomes this move towards dialogue with Addis Ababa.
Boulad did not address the issue of Tango's disappearance and his failure to return to Khartoum with the other Sudanese delegates, including Foreign Minister Maryam Al-Sadiq, Minister of Defence Lieutenant General Yassin Ibrahim, Minister of Justice Nasreddin Abdel Bari and Deputy Director of the Intelligence Service, Lieutenant General Ahmed Ibrahim Mufaddal.
Sudanese social media activists have used hashtags to enquire about the fate of Tango. Some have claimed that the UAE has kidnapped him for being a patriot who refuses to approve Abu Dhabi's initiative for Ethiopia to annex Sudanese territory east of the River Atbara.