Sudanese president sworn in to another term

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

File photo of Omar al-Bashir
Image: Jesse B. Awalt.

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, has been sworn in to another term after winning the country's recent polls, which were largely boycotted by the opposition.

The inauguration ceremony, attended by multiple African leaders and two diplomats from the United Nations, was held earlier today. A reporter for the Al Jazeera news agency described the event as being primarily "a gathering of African leaders".

In his inauguration speech, al-Bashir said that there would be "no return to war" with southern Sudan, and said a referendum on southern independence would be held on time. Southern Sudan is to hold a ballot in January of next year on whether to secede from the rest of the country. The referendum is a key part of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's north-south civil war.

al-Bashir was re-elected in April with 68% of the vote. Many opposition parties boycotted the election, accusing the president's party of having rigged the result.

The president is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, including allegations that he ordered mass murder, rape and torture in Darfur, where rebels have frequently clashed with the government; al-Bashir strongly denies the claims.