World News

War crimes suspect free amid chaos in Sudan

A former Sudanese politician wanted for alleged crimes against humanity has said that he and other former officials are no longer in jail – following reports of a break-out.

Ahmed Haroun was among those being held in Kober prison in the capital Khartoum who are facing charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A ceasefire between fighting military factions largely appears to be holding.

But there are doubts about both sides‘ commitment to a lasting peace.

The conflict – which began on 15 April – arose from a bitter power struggle between the leaders of Sudan’s regular army and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Reports emerged earlier this week of a prison break at Kober – where Ahmed Haroun was serving a sentence alongside Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s former president.

On Tuesday, Haroun confirmed in a statement aired on Sudan’s Tayba TV that he and other Bashir loyalists who served under him had left the jail – but said he would be ready to appear before the judiciary whenever it was functioning.

In an audio message circulating on social media, Haroun claimed the group had been aided in their escape by prison guards and the armed forces.

“We made a decision to protect ourselves due to lack of security, water, food and treatment, as well as the death of many prisoners in Kober,” Haroun told al-Sudani, a daily newspaper with ties to Bashir.

Bashir himself – who is 79 – is currently at a military hospital in police custody, and was moved there before hostilities broke out, according to the Sudanese army.

The former president was ousted by the military after mass protests in 2019, and had been serving a jail sentence for corruption.

He is accused by the ICC of leading a campaign of mass killing and rape in Sudan’s Darfur region, which he denies.

For his part, Ahmed Haroun played a key part in the Sudanese government’s brutal response to two long-running and still unresolved civil wars – in Darfur (from 2003) and South Kordofan (from 2011).

He was indicted by the ICC in 2007 for his alleged role in the atrocities in Darfur, which has been described as the first genocide of the 21st Century.

Haroun faces 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes allegedly committed in the early 2000s when he served as the country’s interior minister. The charges include murder, rape, persecution and torture.

Haroun, who has also previously denied the ICC charges, was a member of Bashir’s inner circle for much of his 30 years in power and was arrested in 2019 following the coup against the veteran leader.

Since then, the country has experienced frequent unrest and several other coup attempts.

Why has fighting broken out in Sudan?
The painful dilemma facing Khartoum residents – stay or go?
Khartoum violence mapped as civilians flee
Sudan’s interior ministry has accused the RSF of breaking into five prisons in the past few days – including Kober, which Bashir had already left.

Police said the raid led to the killing of several prison officials, adding that the RSF released all who where being held there.

The RSF has denied the allegations, claiming instead that the military “forcibly evacuated” the facility as part of a plan to restore Bashir to power.

Plenty of Sudanese will believe this is just the latest example of Gen Burhan, leader of Sudan’s armed forces, trying to restore Bashir’s Islamist lieutenants to the forefront of Sudanese politics.

The ceasefire in Sudan has allowed several countries to evacuate their nationals from the country. A second evacuation flight rescuing UK nationals from Sudan has landed in Cyprus, while a boat evacuating more than 1,600 people from dozens of countries has now arrived in Saudi Arabia.Volker Perthes, who is the UN special envoy to Sudan and is currently in the country, said on Tuesday that the 72-hour pause in fighting still appeared to be holding together.

But gunfire and explosions continued to be reported in Khartoum and the nearby city of Omdurman.

“There is yet no unequivocal sign that either [side] is ready to seriously negotiate, suggesting that both think that securing a military victory over the other is possible,” said Mr Perthes.

The ceasefire, which began at midnight local time (22:00 GMT) on Monday, is the latest attempt to bring stability to the country after fighting broke out nearly two weeks ago.

At least 459 people have died in this conflict so far, though the actual number is thought to be much higher.

Thousands more are reported to have fled Sudan and the UN has warned that this is likely to continue.

There is also concern for those who are left behind, with an estimated 24,000 pregnant women currently in Khartoum who are expected to give birth in the coming weeks.

Mr Perthes also said that many homes, hospitals and other public facilities had been damaged or destroyed in residential areas near the army headquarters and airport in Khartoum during the fighting.

Source: bbc

In other news- Man caught red-handed trying to sell freshly cut human p3nis

An Eastern Cape man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to sell a dismembered pǝn!s, which was cut from a 68-year-old man.



The 32-year-old man appeared in the Butterworth Magistrate’s Court on Monday on a charge of the unlawful possession of human tissue, said police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli. Learn more

Back to top button