Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who faces a possible international arrest warrant for allegedly masterminding genocide in Darfur, arrived in the region Wednesday for a rare visit. According to AFP, Bashir was greeted by a military honour guard at the airport in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.
He smiled, laughed and shook hands with local dignitaries who greeted him at the start of a two-day visit to the region -- his first since July 2007.
International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last week accused Bashir of instructing his forces to annihilate three non-Arab groups in Darfur, masterminding murder, torture, pillaging and using rape to commit genocide.
On its part, Sudan has warned that peacekeeping in Darfur would suffer if the arrest warrant is issued. A presidential adviser, Bona Malwal, told reporters on Tuesday that Khartoum regards the ICC's move as an attempt by European powers to "re-colonize" Africa under the cloak of promoting human rights. "This is an assault on the continent. The first casualty of (this) ... is the international operations in Darfur. The next casualty would be ... international peacekeepers," Malwal was quoted as saying on Tuesday.