$7 million cash hoard found in home of Sudan’s ousted leader Omar Al-Bashir

Sudanese protesters protest outside the army complex in Khartoum on April 20, 2019. (AFP / OZAN KOSE)
Updated 21 April 2019

$7 million cash hoard found in home of Sudan’s ousted leader Omar Al-Bashir

  • Raiders seize suitcases containing euros, US dollar and Sudanese pounds
  • Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11 after months of protests demanding an end to corruption

CAIRO: Sudan’s deposed leader Omar Al-Bashir faces trial for money laundering after a hoard of cash was found in his home in Khartoum.

Military intelligence officers who searched the former president’s house found suitcases containing 6 million euros, more than $351,000 in US bills, and 5 million Sudanese pounds — a total of more than $7 million.

He faces charges of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds, a judicial source said. 

“The chief public prosecutor ... ordered the former president detained and quickly questioned in preparation to put him on trial,” the source said. “The public prosecution will question him in Kobar prison.”

Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11 after months of protests demanding an end to corruption. 

The country’s transitional military council last week ordered the central bank to review financial transfers since April 1 and to seize “suspect” funds. 

It also ordered the “suspension of the transfer of ownership of any shares until further notice and for any large or suspect transfers of shares or companies to be reported.”

A delegation from the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group for protesters, held talks with the military council on Saturday about handing over power to a civilian administration.

If the military rulers refused to hand over power, the protest leaders will announce a “sovereign civilian council” on Sunday, said Ahmed Al-Rabia, a leading member of the Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that launched the initial protests.

“If they are willing to negotiate, then there is a chance that tomorrow’s announcement could be postponed,” he said. “What we want from them is a timetable to hand over power, so things don’t drag.”

Army chiefs had held two rounds of talks with the protest leaders since Bashir was removed, he said. “During these talks we’ve felt that the military council has no desire to hand over power.”

Officials from the African Union also held talks on Saturday with the military council.  

Gen. Omar Zain Al-Abidin, head of the council’s political committee, said the military council’s job was to provide a climate for political forces to rule Sudan in a peaceful and democratic way.  They discussed how the African Union could help in the transition.

The group has given Sudan two weeks to form a civilian administration or risk expulsion.


Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

Updated 22 May 2019

Air raids kill 12 civilians in militant-held Syrian town: monitor

  • The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal
  • The Observatory said they have no proof of the chemical attacks

BEIRUT: Air strikes by Damascus or its ally Moscow killed 12 civilians in a market in Syria’s Idlib province, a monitor said Wednesday, and denied allegations that the government used chemical weapons.

Another 18 people were wounded when the warplanes hit the militant-held town of Maarat Al-Numan around midnight on Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The market was crowded with people out and about after breaking the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Observatory said it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack despite Washington’s announcement it had suspicions.

“We have no proof at all of the attack,” Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

“We have not documented any chemical attack in the mountains of Latakia,” he said.
The air strikes in Idlib came as heavy clashes raged in the north of neighboring Hama province after the militants launched a counterattack on Tuesday against pro-government forces in the town of Kafr Nabuda.
Fresh fighting on Wednesday took the death toll to 52 — 29 troops and militia and 23 militants, the Observatory said.
It said that the militants had retaken most of the town from government forces who recaptured it on May 8.
The militant-dominated Idlib region is nominally protected by a buffer zone deal, but the regime and its Russian ally have escalated their bombardment of it in recent weeks, seizing several towns on its southern flank.
A militant alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

The northern mountains are the only part of Latakia province, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, that are not firmly in the hands of the government.

The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham accused government forces on Sunday of launching a chlorine gas attack on its fighters in the north of Latakia province.

The Syrian army dismissed the reports as a fabrication, a military source told the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper.

But the US State Department said on Tuesday it was assessing indications that the government of president Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on Sunday.

“There were no civilians in the area,” Abdel Rahman said.

White Helmets rescue volunteers, who have reported past chemical attacks in rebel-held areas of Syria, told AFP Wednesday that they had no information on the purported gas attack.

International inspectors say Assad’s forces have carried out a series of chemical attacks during the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011.
Russia and rebel ally Turkey inked the buffer zone deal in September to avert a government offensive on the region which threatened humanitarian disaster for its three million residents.
President Bashar Assad’s government has renewed its bombardment of the region since HTS took control in January.
Russia too has stepped up its air strikes in recent weeks as Turkey proved unable to secure implementation of the truce deal by the militants.
The Observatory says more than 180 civilians have been killed in the flare-up since April 30, and the United Nations has said tens of thousands have fled their homes.