Sudanese rebels call on Libya’s NTC to arrest Bashir during Tripoli visit
Sudanese rebels seeking to overthrow President Omar al-Bashir have asked Libya on Sunday to arrest the accused war criminal during his visit to Tripoli.
In his first visit since Libya’s long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown and killed last year, the Sudanese “revolutionary” rebels called for Bashir to be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We are calling for the Libyan authorities to arrest Bashir and send him to the ICC because he committed crimes against his people in Darfur,” Ibrahim al-Hillu of Darfur’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction headed by Abdelwahid Nur, told AFP.
“We condemn the revolutionary authorities for receiving Bashir,” Hillu said, in reference to Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC).
He called on the NTC to not provide funding to the Sudanese leader “because he is using this money to kill” people in his country.
The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir in 2009 for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. A later warrant added genocide to the charges.
United Nations estimate that at least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since fighting between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated central government erupted in 2003.
Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.
The Sudanese president’s visit to Libya has been in an effort to help disarm Libya’s former rebel fighters and integrate them into the army and police forces, it was reported on Saturday.
“We have good experience in integrating insurgents and entering them into the armed forces or the police,” Bashir said at a news conference with Libyan officials during his visit to Tripoli. “Our officers are ready at any time.”
Bashir, wanted globally for genocide and war crimes, said on Saturday that the fall of Qaddafi’s regime was the “best gift” to his country from Libya.
Libyan officials welcomed al-Bashir in a red carpet ceremony at a Tripoli airport, and Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib called him one of Libya’s friends.
It remains unclear, however, if Libya will accept al-Bashir’s offer to help with militia integration.
Some pointed out the irony of a government founded by rebels who overthrew one autocrat warmly welcoming another.
Amnesty International criticized Libya for receiving al-Bashir.
South Sudan killings
Meanwhile, a United Nations official said on Saturday that there had been no evidence of mass killings in South Sudan, where reports that armed 3,000 people were killed last week when thousands of armed youths attacked the Pibor region of Jonglei
“We found no evidence that support those numbers,” Hilde Johnson, U.N. Special Representative for South Sudan said following a visit to affected areas where up to 8,000 rampaging armed youths set homes on fire and forced thousands to flee.
In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.
It was still not clear on Saturday how many people had died but with as many as a third of all thatch huts set on fire in targeted areas, some 60,000 people were in desperate need of help, Johnson added.
“People are left without shelter, their homes have been torched, and with their cattle taken their livelihoods are dismantled,” she said.