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In Sudan, Calls to Overthrow Bashir

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (file photo)
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (file photo)

The party of former rebels in Sudan is calling for the overthrow of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

In an interview Thursday with VOA, Yasir Arman, who heads the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, said "it's high time to change the regime in Khartoum."

Arman says President Bashir is worse than ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abadine Ben Ali. He also accused Bashir's National Congress Party of committing atrocities in the border state of Southern Kordofan, where Sudan's army has been fighting pro-South Sudan forces since June.

This is the first time SPLM-North, the northern branch of South Sudan's ruling party, which split into two when South Sudan declared independence from Sudan two months ago, has openly called for Bashir's ouster.

Fight continues in Blue Nile state

According to a news release from Arman, pro-southern elements battling Sudan's military in the Blue Nile state had beaten back an offensive and captured some of army's equipment.

Sudanese armed forces say they inflicted "heavy casualties" on the fighters during Wednesday clashes in which some of their soldiers were killed.

The United Nations has voiced concerns about the humanitarian impact of the fighting in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, while the United States says the fighting is an obstacle to improving ties with Khartoum.

Sudanese President Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. His government has been fighting rebels there since 2003.

Please click on the link below to hear Yasir Arman's interview with VOA's John Tanza.