If you compare the crimes leveled against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to Sepp Blatter’s FIFA scandal, Blatter would looks like an angel. From mass murders to corruption allegations running into billions of dollars, it’s no wonder that a South African High Court ordered that President Bashir be detained during a visit to attend an African Union summit in Johannesburg.
In a continent full of despots, Bashir is one of the longest serving head of state in Africa and one of the most controversial. AFKInsider looks at some of the things that make him stand out amongst his peers:
He’s married to his cousin and has no children of his own
Bashir is married to his cousin Fatima Khalid. He has a second wife Widad Babiker Omer, who has children from her first marriage to Ibrahim Shamsaddin, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation. Bashir does not have any children of his own with either of his wives.
He came to power through a bloodless coup in 1989
As a brigadier of the Sudanese army, Bashir, led a group of army officers in a bloodless military coup on 30 June 1989 to oust the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, and took over the leadership of the country.
He’s been the president of Sudan for 22 years
After ousting the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi when it began negotiations with rebels in the south, Bashir disbanded the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation in 1993 and declared himself the president of the country.
He has been re-elected three times
The Sudanese president has been elected back into office three times in his 26 years in power. Although the election were merely a sham to extend his rule and were disputed.
He was the first sitting president to be indicted by the ICC
Bashir was the first sitting president the world over to be indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009. In 2010, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant against him, this time charging him with genocide.
He oversaw the referendum that lead to the cessation of South Sudan
Under his leadership the South gained autonomy from the north in 2010, and became the People’s Republic of South Sudan a year later.
He ruled over Africa’s largest country by size before S.Sudan cessation
Before June 2011, Sudan was the biggest country in Africa in terms of size. However since South Sudan declared independence for the Northern part of Sudan, Algeria became the largest country on the continent, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and then the current Sudan.
He oversaw the Darfur war that killed an estimated 300,000 people
In 2003, conflict flared in the western part of Sudan known as Darfur when rebels, accusing the Khartoum government of neglecting them, took up arms. The Bashir-led government responded with a heavy hand from state army and pro-government militia known as Janjaweed. The conflict continues to date and the UN estimates that more than 300,000 have been killed while more than 1.4 million others have been displaced.
It’s estimated that Bashir has looted over $9 billion from Sudan
According to leaked US diplomatic cables, Bashir has over $9 billion of siphoned wealth stashed in London banks. At one point, former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that some of the funds were being held in UK’s part-nationalize Lloyds Banking Group. The bank refuted the claims.
He’s been accused of harboring Islamic terrorist groups
His friendship with Hassan al-Turabi, an Islamist politician with links to Arab militant groups including Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda Group, also added to his notoriety leading to accusations of harboring and providing sanctuary and assistance to Islamic terrorist groups.