Skip to comments.Beshir dances in Darfur defying war crimes cloud
Posted on 07/23/2008 12:24:21 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
NYALA, Sudan (AFP) - Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir danced before thousands of supporters in Darfur on Wednesday, defying a possible arrest warrant for genocide on a heavily-protected visit to the war-torn area.
Travelling by plane and in a convoy of army, police and national security vehicles mounted with guns and backed by air support, Beshir was greeted by thousands of supporters in state capitals El Fasher and Nyala.
School pupils were recruited for the rally and one government employee told AFP in El Fasher that staff were ordered to a disused land under the sun, where a grinning Beshir danced to nationalist music, jabbing the air with a stick.
His visit comes a week after ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused Beshir of instructing his forces to annihilate three non-Arab groups in Darfur, masterminding murder, torture, pillaging and using rape to commit genocide.
Members of those groups, the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa, some of whom belong to Beshir's National Congress Party, also slammed the ICC move at rallies.
The Khartoum regime is trying to persuade the UN Security Council to freeze possible legal proceedings should ICC judges actually issue an arrest warrant, on the grounds that it could jeopardise peace prospects.
"What Ocampo said about Darfur is lies... We have to find a solution to the Darfur crisis," Beshir told around 300 people made homeless in the five-year conflict, who officials said were returning from El Fasher to their villages.
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Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir stands next to Force Commander of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) General Martin Luther Agwai (L) at a Quarter Guard parade during his visit to the mission's headquarters in El Fasher, 23 July, 2008. REUTERS/Stuart Price/Albany Associates/Handout