Omar al Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, arrived in Chad Sunday where he will attend the swearing-in ceremony of re-elected head of state Idriss Deby Itno. Bashir is one of six African leaders who travelled to N’Djamena for Monday’s inauguration which follows Deby’s election win in April. President Deby was at the city’s airport to welcome Bashir along with Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic, Boni Yayi of Benin, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade and Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore. Other heads of state are expected to attend the ceremony for Deby, who won almost 84 percent of the votes cast in a presidential poll which was boycotted by the opposition. Deby has headed Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries despite growing oil exports and abundant uranium and gold, since ousting dictator Hissene Habre in a 1990 coup.
After five years during which Chad and Sudan fought off rebels forces each accused the other of supporting, bilateral relations have recently improved. Since January 2010 the African neighbours have engaged in a process of normalising their relations. Bashir is the subject of an ICC arrest warrant, issued on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
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