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26 Apr, 2023 20:20

Sudan’s ousted president and loyalists out of jail as fighting rages

The country’s army claims the former leader has been moved to a hospital under the guard of the judicial police
Sudan’s ousted president and loyalists out of jail as fighting rages

Sudan’s ousted president, Omar al-Bashir, is “still in a hospital under the guard of the judicial police,” the army stated on Wednesday, following reports of incarcerated former regime officials escaping from prison in Khartoum. 

Al-Bashir and about 30 others were moved to the Aliyaa hospital on the recommendation of medical staff at Kober Prison before fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) broke out on April 15, Al Jazeera reported, citing the army. 

Former Sudanese politician Ahmed Haroun, who is facing International Criminal Court charges for alleged war crimes in the Darfur conflict, which the UN said killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, announced on Tuesday that he was no longer locked up after being held for four years.  

According to local media, Haroun confirmed in a statement that he and other former top officials of the dissolved National Congress Party, including former Vice President Ali Osman, had left Kober Prison following a break-in.  

“We remained in detention in Kober for nine days… and we now have the responsibility for our protection,” the former South Kordofan governor said, according to Africanews. He claimed that armed attacks, a lack of security, food, and other basic necessities, as well as deaths and injuries among inmates and penitentiary officials, triggered their decision to flee the prison without a judicial release order. Haroun added that they were ready to face the judiciary when the security situation improved.

Kober was one of five jails raided between April 21 and 24, which the Sudanese Interior Ministry blamed on the RSF. Police in Khartoum told the media that the attacks resulted in the deaths and injuries of several prison officials, as well as the release of all detainees.  

The RSF and SAF, who staged a joint coup in 2019 to depose al-Bashir, ending his three decades in power, are now locked in a power struggle for control of Sudan. The conflict has killed at least 512 people and wounded 4,193 others, the country’s Health Ministry stated on Wednesday. Despite a ceasefire between them partly holding, the UN has expressed doubts about both sides’ commitment to a lasting peace.