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Omar al-Bashir flees to Zimbabwe?

by Staff reporter
27 Apr 2019 at 16:39hrs | Views
A PRIVATE jet hired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa from Dubai made a curious stop in Khartoum on Tuesday, raising speculation that Sudan's former leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir or his family could have flown into exile to Zimbabwe.

The Boeing 737-700 IGW with tail number A6-RJX's flight plan shows it flew to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum from Abu Dhabi en-route to Zimbabwe where it had been summoned to ferry Mnangagwa who wanted the aircraft to transport him to Bulawayo from Harare for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, which was officially opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni yesterday.

Curiously, Uganda's government last week indicated it is willing to offer asylum to Sudan's ousted president.

The Sudanese embassy in Harare yesterday said it was in the dark about any purported asylum deal.

"We don't have any information about that," an embassy spokesperson told the Daily News yesterday. "He is in Khartoum; his family is also in Khartoum. He is sick, he is facing treason charges. I don't think so."

Asked how a flight landed in Khartoum, given that the military council has imposed a no flight zone, the spokesperson retorted: "There are no flights. The president is in prison. If it's true, the Military Council will face problems."

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday laughed uproariously after being asked about the reported "high value cargo" picked up by Mnangagwa's plane in Khartoum.
Asked what exactly Mnangagwa's plane was picking up in Khartoum which is under a no-fly-zone decree, Charamba laughed and asked rhetorically if the Daily News was suggesting Zimbabwe was taking in "another Mengistu."

Exiled Marxist ex-Ethiopian military ruler, Mengistu Haile Mariam, has lived for nearly three decades in Zimbabwe. Ethiopia's former ruler was sentenced to death by his country's supreme court but has remained in Zimbabwe under the protection, firstly of his friend and ally, former president Robert Mugabe and the successor Mnangagwa regime, which has continued to give him sanctuary.

A stopover in Sudan is very intriguing given that Sudan's ruling military council has imposed a no-fly-zone over the country.

It's not clear why the no-fly-zone was waivered for Mnangagwa's flight.

The business jet could have stopped for refuelling, but this particular aircraft can fly to Harare from Abu Dhabi on full tank with great ease, especially with no passengers on-board. The jet can can fly up to 6 000 nautical miles or 11 000km nonstop.

The flight departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at 19:27hrs on Tuesday evening, arriving in Khartoum at 21:31hrs the same evening.

It stopped over in Khartoum for one hour and 15 minutes, then departed for Harare at 22:46hrs, finally arriving in Harare on the wee hours of Wednesday morning at 03:28am.
The reason why the plane arrived at that ungodly hour has raised further questions, but aviation experts said if the escape story was true, it was a move meant to minimise mid-air interception for a dictator fleeing by plane to a southern African safe haven.

Bashir's 30-year-reign came to an end earlier this month, after 16 weeks of protests, fuelled by deteriorating economic conditions.

Bashir faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in connection with Sudanese military actions in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.

Zimbabwe is not signatory to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Countries which are not signatories are in a position to ignore extradition requests, raising the distinct possibility that Zimbabwe would welcome the fugitive Al Bashir.

The African Union grumble about the 17-year-old ICC's focus so far on Africans and some of them may prove sympathetic.

In a statement, the African Union has said that a military takeover "is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people."

Al Bashir stands accused of conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the country's Darfur region, and was nearly arrested in 2015 while visiting South Africa.

Eyebrows have also been raised about Mnangagwa's decision to invite Museveni - a brutal dictator in power for 33 years to open Zimbabwe's biggest trade showcase - at time he claims he is keen to turn a new leaf in the post-Mugabe political dispensation and at a time despots are under siege across Africa.



Source - dailynews

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