Jailed ex-ally marks Omar Bashir’s murky political future

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The latest blow to hit Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, yet has come from the Islamist leader and his one-time close ally, Hassan al-Turabi. A call by Hassan al-Turabi leading to his arrest, Wednesday, as well as a decision from the International Criminal Court, expected soon, could spell a murkier political future for the Sudanese government.

In a statement last Monday, Hassan al-Turabi asked President Omar al-Bashir to avail himself to face war crimes charges and indictments of genocide to save the volatile East African country from international sanctions, making him the most high-profile Sudanese to demand that the president faces the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Hassan al-Turabi’s arrest, unquestionably linked to his pronouncements –which also expressly called on the president to assume responsibilty for the Darfur crisis– was reported when some twenty armed security personnel, reportedly, seized the 76 year old and another senior official of his political party from his home in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

Meanwhile, tensions are high ahead of a decision by judges of the ICC as to whether a warrant should be issued for the arrest of Mr. Bashir. ICC’s chief prosecutor wants Omar al-Bashir charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Omar al-Bashir supporters insist that an arrest warrant against the Sudanese leader would be tantamount a political plot. It is believed that this could lead to further strife in the country, following an inteliigence report, which claims that groups loyal to Omar al-Bashir are likely to attack foreigners should he be indicted.

Janjaweed, the Sudanese Arab militia, supported by Arab Sudanese, have been widely blamed for attrocities and ethnic cleansing of Black African Sudanese populations in Darfur, where some 300,000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced in the six-year conflict.

The situation in Sudan is dire. Living in abject hopelessness without the basic necessities to earn a livelihood, millions of Sudanese have seen their mainly agricultural way of life screech to a halt.

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