KHARTOUM, March 26 (Reuters)[Also read on BBC: Mystery over Sudan air strike]- Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir departed Sudan on Thursday for Ethiopia in a show of defiance to an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court on charges of Darfur war crimes.
A Sudanese presidential palace source and a foreign ministry official said Bashir, who risks arrest any time he travels abroad, was on his way to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa but gave no further details.
Experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.7 million driven from their homes in almost six years of ethnic and political fighting in Darfur in western Sudan. Khartoum says 10,000 people have died.
The trip is Bashir’s third abroad since the ICC decision on March 4. He also visited neighbours Egypt and Eritrea this week following invitations from those countries for talks on the ICC move.
The Sudanese government said shortly after the ICC decision that Bashir would defy the warrant by travelling further afield to an Arab summit in Qatar next week.
But Sudanese officials have released statements raising questions over the wisdom of the trip, prompting speculation Sudan may send another representative.
Qatar’s prime minister has said the Gulf state was coming under pressure not to receive Bashir, though he did not say from whom. (Reporting by Andrew Heavens; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Angus MacSwan)