Radio: Darfur war crime suspect survives attack

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A suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur survived an attack as fighting raged in the region’s largest city on Sunday, official radio reported.

“Ali Kushayb was saved from assassination and his guard and driver were killed in Nyala,” Radio Omdurman said in a brief report sent by SMS.

It quoted the chief of South Darfur state police, but did not give the chief’s name.

Kushayb is wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed earlier during the decade-long Darfur conflict.

He was a commander of the feared Janjaweed militia.

Urban battles, which state officials blamed on “differences” between members of the security forces, first erupted in Nyala on Wednesday night.

The fighting was sparked by the killing of a notorious local bandit who was also an officer in the paramilitary Central Reserve Police.

Darfuri members of the Reserve formerly belonged to the Janjaweed, a government-backed militia which shocked the world with atrocities against ethnic minority civilians suspected of supporting rebels.

The rebels from black tribes began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.

With thousands of militia under his command early in the conflict, Kushayb is alleged to have been the mediator between the Janjaweed and Khartoum and to have personally led several attacks.

More recently the Central Reserve has been implicated in fresh abuses.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last month witnesses reportedly saw Kushayb take part in an attack with the Central Reserve forces and other government-linked militia on the town of Abu Jeradil in April.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the Darfur conflict.

Ahmed Haroun, now the governor of South Kordofan state, is also wanted by the court.

An estimated 300,000 people may have died and more than 2.7 million were displaced during the height of the Darfur tragedy, the U.N. said five years ago.

Today, 1.4 million still live in camps for the displaced.

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