The Times | Army splits to shield protesters from the ‘butcher of Darfur’

Sudan’s genocidal leader was facing his toughest challenge in 30 years last night as columns of unarmed protesters filed towards his compound after troops protecting the demonstrators clashed with the presidential guard.

One soldier was killed when they intervened to shield demonstrators: an unprecedented scene that suggests the security structures that have propped up President Bashir’s regime are crumbling. Video footage showed troops firing warning shots into the air as militia and security forces loyal to Mr Bashir, 75, tried to disperse activists outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, on the third day of a historic sit-in. Protests continued overnight, with reports of gunfire and tear gas being used to disperse the crowds.

Mr Bashir, known as the Butcher of Darfur for atrocities committed in the west of his country, for which he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, looks as close to being unseated as at any time since his rule began after an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.