KHARTOUM, Sudan, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Sudanese officials said they arrested the man charged by an international court with coordinating mass murders in Darfur.
Officials did not reveal where janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb -- also known as Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman -- was being held nor say whether the government would turn him over to the international court, The New York Times reported.
"We are investigating him to see if he has committed crimes in Darfur or not," government spokesman Rabie Atti told the Times.
In July, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, formally requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, saying he "masterminded" massacres in Darfur and should be tried for genocide. The request touched off a concern among African and Arab leaders who said prosecution of Bashir could lead to a backlash against civilians and aid workers and lessen prospects for peace in Darfur.
Analysts told the Times Kushayb's arrest might help Sudanese authorities appear to be cooperating and possibly head off the potential ICC prosecution of Bashir.
Rabie said Kushayb's arrest wasn't a political move, but "part of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's commitment to bring a final and comprehensive solution to Darfur."