Sudan ropes in Interpol

2008-06-10 11:20

Khartoum - Sudan will ask Interpol to arrest 20 rebel leaders it says supported an attack on Khartoum, state media has reported.

Those wanted included the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim, the organisation's London-based spokesperson Ahmed Hussein and two other senior commanders, the state Suna news agency reported.

JEM forces travelled across hundreds of miles of desert and scrub to strike Omdurman, a suburb of Khartoum on May 10, the first time insurgents have reached the capital in decades.

Sudan's Justice Minister Abdel Basit Sabderat was quoted as saying that the government had "began the adoption of procedures to retrieve 20 of the leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement through Interpol".

A number of foreign countries had cooperated by shutting down JEM offices, Suna quoted the minister as saying.

A spokesperson for the British Embassy said he was not aware of any official requests for the arrest of JEM officials based in Britain.

Child soldiers

Sudan had announced a $250 000 reward for information leading to Ibrahim's capture.

Officials were also preparing to open special courts next week to try an unspecified number of people accused of taking part in the JEM attack, Suna said.

The justice minister said lawyers had collected 83 documents listing the names of people involved in the attack and details of "sleeping cells", Suna reported.

State media said a number of children arrested after the attack, that Khartoum said were being used as child soldiers by JEM, were being treated kindly. JEM denied using child soldiers.

Human rights groups accused Sudan of carrying out indiscriminate arrests and torturing suspects after the assault, a charge denied by Khartoum. The justice minister said 481 people had been released without charge, and all had been treated well, Suna reported.

Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with its western neighbour Chad, accusing it of organising and bankrolling the attack. Soon after the assault a number of senior Sudanese officials were quoted as saying that another international power must have been involved in supporting the attack.

A spokesperson for Sudan's ministry of foreign affairs distanced the government on Tuesday from recent reports in the local media blaming Libya for supporting Chad and JEM.

"Sudan does not accuse the Libyan Jamahiriyah of involvement in what the Justice and Equality Movement did," Ali al-Sadig said.

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