Officials warn of rebel attack and anti-west threat if Bashir indicted
UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SUDAN ( UNMIS)
Media Monitoring Report, January 6, 2009
Top Sudanese officials warned yesterday that Chad-based Darfur rebels plan to launch attacks if President al-Bashir is indicted by the ICC and warned that a new round of bloodshed could ensue.
Local newspapers report MFA undersecretary Mutrif Siddiq as saying the rebels are building up forces just across the Chad border for a possible attack on Sudanese cities and oil fields in South Kordofan. If ICC judges issue a warrant against the President later this month “it is going to have a very negative impact,” Siddiq told Reuters and the BBC. “They will say they are fighting a legitimate cause against a criminal government and a criminal president."
Siddiq said Sudan had solid information from inside Chad about preparations for such an attack. “We are preparing for such a step --we will never allow it to happen. Definitely it will cost us lives and some publicity.” He added that the governmentsuspected “political forces” in Khartoum could create instability if Bashir were indicted, pointing out that this could fuel anti-western sentiment.
According to Al-Rai Al-Aam, Siddiq said the authorities would alert “westerners” about any danger. Moreover, if Khartoum felt unable to offer protection, it would inform them to leave quietly.
In similar vein, NCP official Mandour Al-Mahi told US Charge d’Affaires Alberto Fernandez yesterday that the government “could not control all sections, particularly youths and students.” Government and NCP, he said, would do their best to prevent these elements from taking extremist and unlawful action. “Everybody knows that some problems may occur but our official position is that we will handle the matter quietly.”
Yesterday, President Bashir chaired a Council of Ministers meeting on the Gaza situation. Today, he is to meet with political party members of the GoNU for consultations on ICC and Gaza. Also, the MFA issued a statement yesterday condemning SC inaction toward Israeli aggression.
Al-Ahdath reports UNAMID and humanitarian NGOs conducted an evacuation exercise in designated airports in Darfur yesterday in anticipation of ICC reactions.
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