Most Wanted: Omar al-Bashir
Omar al-Bashir was welcomed into the world on New Year’s Day, 1944. The son of a farmer, al-Bashir joined the Sudanese Army at the age of 16 and quickly rose to the rank of lieutenant-general, serving the Egyptian Army in the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel along the way.
In June 1989, as Sudan was in the midst of a 21-year civil war, al-Bashir led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup, ousting then-Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi. Disbanding the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation – the military junta that brought to him power – and suspending all rival political parties, he appointed himself President in 1993. Islamic law was introduced and out went music, dance and wedding celebrations. In came the Guardians of Morality and Advocates of the Good, as well as Osama bin Laden.
And so began Bashir’s fierce, detestable grip on power.