Uganda ready to offer asylum to deposed Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir

Uganda ready to offer asylum to deposed Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir

- Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister said the country would be willing to accommodate the beleaguered leader

- Henry Okello said Uganda was ready to give Bashir asylum as appreciation for his role in the South Sudan peace deal

- The long-serving leader was removed from power by the Sudanese army on 11 April following months of angry street protests

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President Yoweri Museveni's government has indicated it would not have a problem giving former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir asylum if he applies for it.

This was confirmed by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, who also recognised the beleaguered Sudanese leader days after he was dramatically removed from power by the military.

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Museveni's government ready to give deposed Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir asylum

Omar Al-Bashir came to power in 1989 and has been the ruler of the African country for decades. His government was toppled by the military following months of protests. Photo: Getty Images.

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Addressing the press on Tuesday, 16 April at Uganda's parliamentary building, Oryem argued that Bashir played a crucial role in brokering a peace deal in young South Sudan, and therefore Uganda would not hesitate to give him asylum as a way of appreciating his contributions.

"If Omar al-Bashir applies for asylum in Uganda, that is something that can be considered by the president of Uganda.
"President Bashir was a co-guarantor for the peace agreement in South Sudan. He played an important role and we are grateful," the Foreign Affairs minister said.

READ ALSO: Deposed Omar al-Bashir transferred to maximum security prison

Bashir was thrown out of power on 11 April following months of angry street protests against him with thousands of Sudanese citizens calling for his ouster after his government decided to hike the price of bread.

More than 40 people reportedly died during the demonstrations that began in December last year.

Activists, opposition leaders and journalists were jailed by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

The country's Minister of Defence, who doubles as the vice-president, Ahmed Awad Ibnouf, eventually confirmed that the army had taken over power and that a military transition council would be in charge for a period of two years.

He also announced all political prisoners who were locked up by the NISS would be set free.

This came even as the protesting civilians continued to demand for a government led by a civilian leader and not another military man.

The embattled Bashir, whose term was expected to end in 2020, had initially maintained he would not step down and urged his opponents to seek power through constitutional means.

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Meanwhile, the now-former Sudanese president is still wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, charges he had denied.

During his reign, Sudan witnessed civil wars that have led to several hundreds of thousands of deaths and mass displacements.

Bashir joined the list of African presidents whose governments were toppled under similar circumstances after their long stay in power.

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The other African leaders who were ousted the same way are Zimbabwe's former president, Robert Mugabe, Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh.

Uganda's Museveni, however, continues to rule despite having been in power for more than three decades.

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