Former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and a number of close associates have been transferred from prison in the capital Khartoum to a military hospital, the Sudanese army said in a statement. The 79-year-old former ruler is said to be under police guard in the hospital. The statement cannot be verified.
According to the army, Bashir and the confidants have been moved to the hospital because medical care is better there. That would have happened before April 15, the day the battle began between the army and the paramilitary group RSF.
The army issued the statement after reports that the RSF had raided prisons and released detainees. That would not be the case in Bashir’s case.
The former dictator has been wanted for years by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the western region of Darfur. An arrest warrant has been issued against him.
The now 79-year-old Bashir was found guilty of corruption after his impeachment in 2019 and sentenced. There is also a trial against him for his coup in 1989.
A former governor and ally of Bashir, Ahmed Haroun, has escaped from prison. He said he will report back if needed. Haroun is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.
“My contacts in Khartoum have been talking for days about a coup by the Islamists of the old Bashir regime, which also includes Ahmed Haroun,” says Anette Hoffmann, Sudan expert at Clingendael. “They want to return to power regardless of human suffering.”
It is not clear what exactly happened at the prisons. The RSF and the Sudanese police accuse each other of releasing prisoners. Police say the RSF stormed five prisons over the weekend, killing several guards. The paramilitary group denies that. The army and police say they are working together to return the detainees to their cells.
Several temporary ceasefires have already been agreed in Sudan in recent days. There is less fighting during those periods, but the weapons are not completely laid down. The UN envoy to Sudan said yesterday at the UN Security Council that neither side is willing to negotiate seriously.
More than 450 people have been killed and thousands more injured in recent fighting in Sudan. A multiple of that number has fled, including to neighboring countries.
Many Westerners and other foreigners have been evacuated from Sudan in the past week. Just today, a boat carrying 1,600 evacuees from dozens of countries arrived in Saudi Arabia. At least one Dutchman was among them.
- Sudanese Dallia flees violence: ‘I don’t know where to go’
- Many tens of thousands of Sudanese residents on the run, where are they going?
- Warring parties in Sudan agree on three-day ceasefire