Deposed president al-Bashir in Sudan military hospital, army says

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By Webdesk

Former leader left prison amid fierce fighting while other ex-officials escaped in a prison break amidst the chaos.

Deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is being held in a military hospital in Khartoum after fighting broke out between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and overrun the prison where he was being held.

Al-Bashir and about 30 other detainees have been transferred to Aliyaa Hospital on the recommendation of medical staff from Kober Prison, the army said in a statement on Wednesday.

Al-Bashir was held in Kober Prison in Bahri, just north of Khartoum, along with other members of his former government.

The prison was attacked during fighting between the two military groups, leading to a prison break on Sunday, with thousands of prisoners escaping.

“Relatives of former President Bashir said they are waiting for the fighting to end so that he can go to trial and prove his innocence,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan said from Khartoum.

The release of approximately 25,000 convicted criminals contributed to a growing sense of lawlessness in Khartoum, where residents report increasing insecurity with widespread looting and gangs roaming the streets.

Al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019 by the two generals whose troops are now fighting in the streets of Khartoum and across Sudan. At least four senior officials in his government fled prison during the jailbreak and later released an audio statement saying they will surrender to authorities once a judicial body is active in the war-torn country.

“They said once there’s a system in place, they’ll turn themselves in for justice because they’re innocent of the charges against them,” Morgan said.


Moved by the military

Ahmed Haroun, a senior official in al-Bashir’s government, issued a statement on Tuesday saying he is standing by the people of Sudan in the current “power conflict”, which he says is supported by regional and international states.

Both al-Bashir and Haroun are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur from 2003 to 2018.

Al-Bashir was not part of the group of prisoners who escaped on Sunday, and he was instead moved by the military and is being held safely at the military hospital, Morgan reported.

Kober Prison has been home to several senior al-Bashir era officials accused of overthrowing the government in 1989 when al-Bashir came to power.

During the fighting and chaos in Sudan over the past 12 days, the army and RSF have exchanged blame for the prison break and responsibility for the fleeing prisoners.

The military accused RSF soldiers of donning military uniforms and attacking Kober prison, saying they released prisoners and ransacked the facility.

The RSF denied the allegations, saying the military “forcibly evacuated” the facility as part of a plan to return al-Bashir to power.

“The military has transferred responsibility for the prisons to the police, which is under the Department of the Interior,” Morgan said, adding that his office is currently occupied by RSF troops.

The ministry said on Wednesday RSF fighters broke into five prisons and released all prisoners, including in Kober. Several prison officials were killed and injured in the raids.

Al-Bashir ruled Sudan for three decades during wars and sanctions. He and other former top officials accused of atrocities have been detained in Kober for four years as authorities rejected ICC requests for a transfer.

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