Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has told the BBC he will step down in 2020, when his current mandate ends. Mr Bashir also denied allegations of abuses perpetrated by the Sudanese forces in renewed violence against black African villages who took up arms in the country’s western Darfur region.
The president has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on counts of genocide and war crimes. Mr Bashir has been in power since 1989. He won elections in April last year. He told the BBC’s Thomas Fessy that his job was “exhausting” and his current term would be his last. “In 2020, there will be a new president and I will be an ex-president,” he said.
However, sceptics will say that he had already pledged to step down in the past and later went back on his word, our correspondent says. The UN says more than 2.5 million people have been displaced in Darfur since 2003 – with more than 100,000 this year alone.
President Bashir said that there was no reason for the UN peacekeepers and aid workers to stay in the troubled Darfur region. He denied reports of recent abuses in the mountains of Jebel Marra where government forces launched an offensive in January. “All these allegations are baseless, none of these reports is true,” he said. “We challenge anyone to visit the areas recaptured by the armed forces, and find a single village that has been torched.