Sudan’s army said on Wednesday it had bombed rebel positions in Darfur, a rare admission of air attacks in the western region. At the same time sudanese security agents arrested an influential opposition leader late on Wednesday, his family said, two days after he called on Sudan’s president to hand himself into the International Criminal Court.
The court’s chief prosecutor asked judges in July to issue an arrest warrant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of orchestrating genocide in Darfur. Hassan al-Turabi, the first significant political figure to urge Bashir to surrender, was taken from his Khartoum home just after 11 p.m. (2000 GMT) his son Siddig al-Turabi told Reuters. “He is being arrested now. It may be for interrogation. It might be for long term internment,” he said, adding the security officials had not explained the reason for the arrest.
Turabi was Bashir’s close political and religious ally until they split in a bitter power struggle in 1999-2000. Since then Turabi has been in and out of jail but was released along with all other political prisoners after a north-south peace deal in 2005. Most other opposition figures in Sudan have said little about the case or rallied round the president, describing the global court case as a Western and Zionist plot against Sudan.
Bomb in Darfur. A statement said planes bombed near Muhajiriya in south Darfur, targeting rebels who had rejected a 2006 peace agreement and the unconditional ceasefire declared by Bashir last year. “The sudanese army has bombed this area to protect the Sudanese civilians living in this area,” a spokesman said.
No one was immediately available from government to comment on whether the attacks broke the ceasefire or other agreements. Bombing is forbidden under terms of the 2006 deal and U.N. Security Council resolutions.