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Sudan: Bashir threatens rioters with "the gun" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir addresses a crowd in North Khartoum, on June 8, 2013. (Reuters)

President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir addresses a crowd in North Khartoum on June 8, 2013. (Reuters)

Khartoum, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir threatened to use “the gun” against all those who want to “destroy Sudan” in a speech on Thursday.

Speaking during an address in North Kordofan, Bashir said: “To those who want peace and to serve the nation, we welcome them, but to those who want to destroy by the gun . . . we will meet them with the gun.”

“This year will be the decisive year for rooting out insurgents and those who have taken up arms,” Bashir said. A number of Sudanese cities have witnessed huge anti-government riots, calling for Bashir’s ouster following a controversial fuel subsidy cut. Bashir has described those who have taken part in nation-wide protests against his government as “saboteurs and [foreign] agents,” accusing them of informing against him to International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

In his fiery speech on Thursday, Bashir also made reference to the “stall tactics” employed by the US embassy in processing his visa application to attend last month’s UN General Assembly meeting in New York. The Sudanese president ultimately took the decision not to attend.

Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) spokesman Abu Al-Qasim Imam El-Haj told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Bashir’s speech reflects his defeat after the uprising witnessed in different Sudanese cities calling for his ouster.”

The opposition front spokesman also affirmed that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is beset by divisions, citing the mutiny led by a number of politicians who had supported Bashir for more than 23 years.

The NCP has sought to close ranks this week, paving the way for the expulsion of a number of senior dissidents, including former parliamentary bloc leader Ghazi Salahaddin Al-Attabani, reformist wing spokesman Fadlallah Ahmed Abdullah, and bureau chief Hassan Osman Rizk.

The three senior NCP figures were behind a petition signed by more than 30 NCP officials calling for the reinstatement of the fuel subsidies and the launch of a government investigation into the excessive use of force against protesters.

“The legitimacy of your rule has never been at stake like it is today,” said an open letter to President Bashir that accompanied the petition.

For his part, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) spokesman Jibreel Adam Bilal informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Bashir’s latest speech will incite of the killing of more innocent civilians, whether in Darfur, the Blue Nile, South Kordofan or Khartoum.

Bilal said, “With this speech, Bashir is saying that he intends to mobilize a militia to continue the murders,” adding, “Since 2003, Bashir has not turned his guns on the Sudanese revolutionary forces, instead pointing them against unarmed civilians.”