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Where Is Omar al-Bashir? Ex-Dictator Mystery Adds to Crisis in Sudan.


As Sudan descends into chaos in a battle between rival generals, one question was swirling around the country on Wednesday: Where is the former dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir?

Mr. al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In Sudan, he still faces charges related to the 1989 coup that propelled him to power, and he faces a death sentence or life in prison if convicted. The uncertainty over his whereabouts was another sign of Sudan’s descent into lawlessness and could deal a blow to the receding hopes of bringing democratic rule to the country.

It was thought that Mr. al-Bashir, 79, was being held in the Kober prison in Khartoum, the capital, serving a two-year sentence for money laundering and corruption. But then a former official being held with Mr. al-Bashir said on Tuesday night that he had left the prison along with some other, unnamed officials, without mentioning the former dictator.

That followed a statement by the Sudanese Army that inmates had been released after supplies of food, water and electricity to the prison were cut.

Mr. Harun, a former cabinet minister and senior official in Mr. al-Bashir’s government, is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the western Sudanese region of Darfur from 2003 to 2004. Mr. Harun said that he would surrender to the authorities and appear in front of the judiciary once government agencies were functional again.


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