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Omar al-Bashir flees Nigeria over fears of arrest on ICC charges

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir left Nigeria abruptly on Monday after demands by human rights groups to arrest him over war crimes.

Omar al bashir nigeriaEnlarge
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir left Nigeria abruptly this week after human rights groups called for his arrest over war crimes in the Darfur region. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir left Nigeria abruptly Monday after human rights groups demanded his arrest over war crimes charges.

Sudan's leader was attending a two-day African Union summit — a body that does not recognize the charges against al-Bashir. He left the country hastily before the conference finished.

Al-Bashir has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide and war crimes in the Darfur region.

Human rights lawyers in Nigeria filed a suit in federal court in an attempt to have the Sudanese leader arrested upon his arrival. The group also appealed to the ICC to press Nigeria to arrest him.

The ICC belatedly called on Nigeria to arrest al-Bashir, but he had apparently already fled the country.

More from GlobalPost: Sudan President Bashir's trip to Nigeria sees outcry

In its request, the ICC wrote that the Nigerian government had an obligation to detain al-Bashir, or the matter could be referred to the UN Security Council.

Many countries have refused to host al-Bashir but Nigeria continues to welcome the leader. Nigeria stated that he was the guest of the African Union and not the Nigerian government.

South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, and the Central Africa Republic have vowed to arrest al-Bashir if he set foot on their territory.

Britain and the United States expressed disappointment that Nigeria did not arrest the Sudanese president.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/130716/omar-al-bashir-flees-nigeria-over-fears-arrest-icc-charg