Deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is being held at a military hospital in Khartoum after fighting between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) broke out and engulfed the prison where he was being held.
Al-Bashir and about 30 other prisoners were moved to Aliyaa hospital on the recommendation of medical staff at Kober Prison, the army said in a statement on Wednesday.
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Al-Bashir was being held at Kober Prison in Bahri, just north of Khartoum, along with other members of his former government.
The prison was attacked during fighting between the two military groups, which led to a jailbreak on Sunday with thousands of inmates escaping.
“Former President Bashir’s family members said they are waiting for the fighting to end so he can go to trial and prove his innocence,” said Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum.
The release of about 25,000 convicted criminals added to a growing sense of lawlessness in Khartoum, where residents have reported worsening insecurity with widespread looting and gangs roaming the streets.
Al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019 by the two generals whose forces are now fighting on the streets of Khartoum and across Sudan. At least four senior officials in his government fled during the jailbreak and later released an audio statement saying they will surrender to authorities once there is a judicial body operating in the war-torn country.
“They said once there is a system in place, they will hand themselves in for justice because they are innocent of the charges against them,” Morgan said.
Moved by the military
Ahmed Haroun, a senior official in al-Bashir’s government, released a statement on Tuesday saying he stands by the people of Sudan in the current “conflict of power”, which he alleged is backed by regional and international states.
Both al-Bashir and Haroun are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur from 2003 to 2018.
Al-Bashir was not part of the group of prisoners who escaped on Sunday, and he was instead moved by the military and is being safely held at the military hospital, Morgan reported.
Kober Prison has been home to several senior officials from the al-Bashir era who are charged with overthrowing the government in 1989 when al-Bashir came to power.
During the fighting and chaos in Sudan over the past 12 days, the army and RSF have exchanged blame for the jailbreak and responsibility for the fleeing prisoners.
The army accused RSF soldiers of donning military uniforms and attacking Kober Prison, saying they released inmates and looted the facility.
The RSF denied the allegations and said the military “forcibly evacuated” the facility as part of a plan to restore al-Bashir to power.
“The military has laid responsibility for the prisons on the police, which comes under the Ministry of Interior,” Morgan said, adding its office is currently occupied by RSF troops.
The ministry said on Wednesday that RSF fighters broke into five prisons and released all detainees, including at Kober. The raids killed and wounded several prison officials.
Al-Bashir ruled Sudan for three decades during wars and sanctions. He and other former top officials accused of atrocities have been held in Kober for four years as authorities have declined ICC requests they be handed over.