[dehai-news] (AFP): Foreigners in Sudan may be targets if ICC lays charges: media

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 09:20:11 EST

Foreigners in Sudan may be targets if ICC lays charges: media


KHARTOUM (AFP) - The head of Sudan's powerful intelligence agency has warned
that foreigners could be targeted by radicals if the world court indicts
President Omar al-Beshir, state media reported on Sunday.

Spymaster Salah Gosh, who heads the National Security and Intelligence
Service, was widely quoted as telling senior Sudanese journalists that
reactions would be difficult to predict to any such indictment.

Judges at the International Criminal Court may decide as early as this month
whether to issue an arrest warrant for Beshir, accused by the court's chief
prosecutor of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

"The reactions of unruly persons cannot be predicted who may target some
foreigners," Gosh was quoted as saying by Sudan's state news agency, SUNA.

Gosh denied any presence in Sudan of international terror network Al Qaeda,
whose mastermind Osama bin Laden was accorded shelter in Khartoum in the
1990s after being ejected from Saudi Arabia, but conceded there are some

"Al Qaeda is not an organization but ideas, and ideas cannot be treated with
guns and measures," he was quoted as saying by SUNA.

"He (Gosh) could not predict what kind of reaction outlaws could undertake
if the ICC issues a resolution. He suspects they may possibly target some
aliens," wrote the Sudan Media Centre, considered close to the spy agency.

"(Gosh) denies the existence of Al Qaeda elements in Sudan. However, he said
there are some extremists," it said.

The independent English-language Sudan Tribune website translated Gosh's
Arabic words more specifically as saying that "Westerners" could be targeted
by "radical groups."

Sudan has conducted a so far futile diplomatic campaign to convince the
three Western permanent members of the UN Security Council, Britain, France
and the United States, to stall any legal proceedings against Beshir.

Gosh described the ICC as an instrument of pressure to weaken the Sudanese
government and branded its chief prosecutor a "political activist".

US diplomats warned last week that Sudanese protesters demonstrating against
Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip called for attacks on Westerners.

The security chief was quoted as vowing that the security service would work
to "secure the country against any violations".

Sudan does not recognise the ICC and has refused all cooperation with the
body, whose judges in 2007 indicted a militia chief and a now cabinet
minister over alleged atrocities committed in Sudan's Darfur region in 2003
and 2004.


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