KHARTOUM - One of four Sudanese Islamists who escaped from prison last year after they were sentenced to hang for the murder of a US diplomat was killed while waging "jihad," or holy war, in Somalia, his father said on Saturday.
Mohannad Osman Yussif Mohammed was one of the four Islamists convicted of the New Year's Day killing, in 2008, of US diplomat John Granville, 33, and his driver Abdel Rahman Abbas, 40, who both worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
"Today we were informed that Mohannad was killed in jihad in Somalia. I cannot tell anyone how we got this information," the man's father told reporters at his house in north Khartoum.
"I am calling for the government to release the Islamic youth from prison and also for the court to cancel the decision against Mohannad, because they were answering President Bashir's call when he told them to fight international troops in Darfur," he added.
The four escaped from Kober jail in northern Khartoum in June last year.
The United States said afterwards that it expected Sudan to apprehend the escapees and "ensure that justice is served."
Some of those who came to pay their condolences to the slain convict's family on Saturday congratulated them, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is greatest!)
For a decade after President Omar al-Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, Sudan became a notorious refuge for militant Islamists.
These included Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces in Pakistan last weekend and who was based in Khartoum between 1991 and 1996, where he ran a thriving construction business and built mujahideen training camps.
The Sudanese government was accused of sponsoring terrorism and remains blacklisted by the US government.
But it insists that it no longer supporters Islamist groups and Washington has promised to remove Khartoum from the list after it allowed January's referendum on southern independence to take place and accepted the results.