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Sudan's Bashir has knee operation

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. ©Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. ©Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir underwent a knee operation on Sunday, his press secretary said, amid uncertainty over whether the leader will seek to extend his 25 years in power, AFP reports.

"President Bashir had a knee replacement operation today in Royal Care Hospital. It was done by a Sudanese medical team," the secretary, Emad Sayed Ahmed, said in a statement.

He added that Bashir, 70, "will stay in bed for a few days."

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

June 30 will mark a quarter-century since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup.

Since the separation of South Sudan three years ago his regime has faced mounting challenges.

Wars and unrest spread to about half of the country's 18 states, internal divisions surfaced in the ruling National Congress Party, and the economy has battled a shortage of hard currency, high inflation and a weakening currency.

In 2012 Bashir underwent two surgeries which his office described as minor. At least one was performed in Saudi Arabia.

Since then, analysts say tensions have surfaced in relations between the kingdom and Khartoum.

Royal Care, where he was treated on Sunday, is Khartoum's best hospital.

Whether Bashir will seek a new term in a presidential election due next year hinges on an October convention of the president's ruling party, his chief assistant Ibrahim Ghandour said in a March interview.

"He declared many times that he's not willing to, but the decision will still be with the convention," Ghandour said.


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