Sudan’s Bashir blames unrest on ‘traitors and bandits’

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir blamed on Wednesday the recent demonstrations against him on “traitors, bandits, and troublemakers” who he said were supported by “hostile media.”

Bashir vowed that his government will continue his austerity program and economic reform.

In his first public speech since the unrest that erupted on Sept. 24, Bashir – who ruled Sudan since 1989 – pledged to work on providing electricity and water supply for millions of people and for agricultural projects.

More than 60 people were killed in the nationwide violence after the government responded with a heavy hand to demonstrations against a sudden hike in fuel prices.

The Sudanese government lost more than 70 percent of oil revenues after the secession of South Sudan two years ago. The country is facing challenges to continue servicing its foreign debt, which is estimated at more than $40 billion, without lifting subsidies on basic commodities.

But the public anger that resulted from this step posed a major threat to Bashir’s 24-year rule.

The president is already wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and losing his post as president would likely make him more prone to international prosecution.

The United States recently denied him a visa to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Bashir said he wanted to go to New York to “challenge the Americans in their own home.”

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