November 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s recent health troubles are likely the result of a "benign tumor" in his throat, his brother said.
- TV footage showing Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 2012 (Al-Shorooq TV)
In statements shown on privately-owned Blue Nile TV, Abdullah Hassan al-Bashir who is also a physician, disclosed that they are awaiting the results of a biopsy performed on his brother which would confirm the nature of the tumor.
The results should come out as early as Saturday, he said without providing further details.
Bashir’s brother’s statements contradicts those made by other officials in the presidency and the government who said that the Sudanese leader suffered from Lipoma that caused a vacuum between vocal cords.
The 68-years old president underwent surgery last August in Qatar performed on his throat that was only recently officially acknowledged. He has limited his appearance and speeches ever since which gave rise to rumors regarding his health and the nature of his illness.
This week it was announced that Bashir traveled to Saudi Arabia on a private visit during which he will undergo medical checks and meet with Saudi officials. A day later however a statement by the government said that Bashir underwent a successful "minor surgery" without elaboration.
Official sources, speaking to Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity, justified this by saying that the operation was not anticipated but rather necessitated by the results of the tests he took.
Bashir appeared today at the Sudanese embassy in Riyadh and addressed his supporters for the first time since the surgery.
"I assure you that I am in perfect health and do not suffer from any side effects after a small surgery I had yesterday that was successful," he said in a clear and normal sounding voice.
He addressed the recent attack on a weapons factory in the Sudanese capital which Khartoum blamed on Israel.
"Of course, many people wonder how Israeli’s planes sneaked from the Red Sea to reach Khartoum without people engaging with it," Bashir said.
The Sudanese president pointed out that his country has two options to stop such attacks the first of which is normalizing ties with Israel but he swiftly dismissed that option and emphasized that Israel will remain the number one enemy of Sudan.
"Israel is the Zionist enemy and Israel will remain the enemy" going on to say that the viable alternative is seeking to acquire military capabilities to enable it to respond "in kind".
However, he acknowledged the superiority of Israel’s military and noted that the Jewish state used technology that enabled it to avoid radar detection..
"The aircrafts that hit Khartoum and bombed the compound were F-15’s and they are American planes that were in use since a long time ago but they added new features [so that] no radar detects it. Even radars in Djibouti and the US base and the French base were unable to detect those planes," he added.
Bashir also reiterated his rejection to excluding Misseriya tribe in Abyei from taking part in the referendum as the African Union plan proposes saying it paves the way to Dinka Ngok being granted the region and subsequently being annexed by South Sudan.
He emphasized that Abyei is a land belonging to the Misseriya who hosted the Dinka Ngok in the past in reference to the period of Dinka-Nuer conflicts.
Abyei lies on the border between South Sudan and its northern neighbor. Since South Sudan seceded in 2011 various issues have remained unresolved. Despite the success of the most recent round of talks held in Addis Ababa in September, Juba and Khartoum have failed to agree upon the future of the Abyei region.
"Abyei will continue as a part of Sudan and all Misseriya will participate in the Abyei referendum," Bashir said.
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has given Sudan and South Sudan until December 5 to agree on the final status of Abyei, which Sudanese troops withdrew from in May to end a year-long occupation.