Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri on Tuesday demanded Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir "repent" for kicking the terrorist group's leaders out of Sudan and called on the Sudanese people to "prepare for a guerrilla war against the West".
"The Bashir regime is reaping what it sowed. It expelled those who took refuge in Sudan, including Osama bin Laden," al-Zawahiri said in a message released Tuesday according to the Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messages from terrorist groups.
Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri's message came just weeks after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of war crime in the Sudanese province of Darfur. The UN says up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced by the conflict that started in 2003.
On the 17-minute audio recording, he called the ICC's decision a ploy by Western powers to interfere in Sudan and urged the Sudanese people to prepare and train for a long guerrilla war against the West.
"The issue isn't one of Darfur and solving its problems. It is about finding an excuse for more foreign interference in the Muslim countries in the framework of the contemporary crusader-Zionist campaign," al-Zawahiri said.
Al Qaeda loyalists, and their leader bin Laden, lived in Sudan from the early 1990s until 1996 when al-Bashir expelled them under US pressure.
"So will al-Bashir regime take the path of Islam and jihad and abandon the political manoeuvres, which has not, and will never, bring anything other than disasters and tragedies?" al-Zawahiri said.