Thousands attend Sudan 'victory' rally

Thousands of people on Wednesday demonstrated in Khartoum at a government-organised “victory” rally to denounce Darfur rebels who staged a daring attack on the capital as agents of Israel.

Waving flags and banners, crowds of men, women and schoolchildren converged outside army headquarters to hear a speech from President Omar al-Bashir, whose government has been fighting rebels in Darfur for more than five years.

Heavily guarded by police and soldiers, the main streets outside the army compound were sealed to traffic. Protestors danced to music, denounced the rebels and shouted religious chants.

Witnesses varied widely on the size of the crowd, some estimating that about 7 000 people attended. Others put the figure at 15 000.

“They are executing a foreign agenda.
Ask yourselves who brought the weapons, the cars, who is paying them to do this,” Bashir, dressed in military fatigues, shouted into a barrage of microphones.

Sudan has offered a $250 000 reward for information on the whereabouts or the capture of Khalil Ibrahim, the commander of the Justice and Equality Movement, which attacked Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman on Saturday.

“Khalil is an agent for Israel,” Bashir said. “Khartoum cannot be governed by someone who sold himself to Judaism and the Crusaders.

“Because of him, women and children have been killed in Omdurman,” said Bashir, repeatedly jabbing the air with his walking stick for emphasis.

The army has said that more than 222 people were killed in the rebel assault and clashes outside the city over three previous days, including 34 civilians.

Bashir saluted the security services for their stand and thanked his coalition partner, the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, for its support.

“We’re sending a message from here, from Khartoum, from the capital, from Omdurman to all the traitors and agents, the word of the Sudanese nation that victory has happened,” Bashir said.—AFP

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