Sudan’s Bashir arrives in Khartoum from S.Africa

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Khartoum from Johannesburg Monday, after a South African court ordered him not to leave as it decided whether to arrest him over alleged war crimes.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region, was returning from an African Union summit.

Dressed in his traditional white robes, a triumphant Bashir was seen waving his trademark cane in the air as he stepped off the plane and shouted: “God is greatest!”.

Walking down a red carpet leading from the aircraft, he was greeted by his ministers on the tarmac as well as a crowd of journalists and photographers.

After his arrival, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour gave a brief news conference, brushing aside Bashir’s close call with international justice at the summit.

“What was being circulated was propaganda, and his participation confirms the president is one of Africa’s leaders”.

Bashir will continue to attend international summits “as normal”, Ghandour added.

Ghandour also denied there was anything unusual about Bashir’s departure from the Waterkloof military air base outside Pretoria instead of from a normal airport.

“When we arrived, we landed at Johannesburg airport but all the African leaders’ planes left from a private airport,” he said.

After the conference, Bashir drove around outside the airport in an open-topped car, waving his cane amid a crowd of around 1,000 supporters.

The crowds beat drums, sang traditional songs and waved Sudanese flags, chanting: “With our blood and our souls, we sacrifice for you Bashir!”.

After about 10 minutes Bashir was driven away.

Bashir, 71, was indicted over his alleged role in the Darfur conflict.

African rebels in the western region launched an insurgency against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government in 2003, complaining they were being marginalised.

The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict since, and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

Khartoum says 10,000 people have been killed in the region since 2003.