KHARTOUM, Sudan – The Sudanese government has doubled its bounty for the country's most wanted Darfur rebel leader to nearly $250,000, a government official said Tuesday.
State media had been reporting that the reward was 500 million new Sudanese pounds, the equivalent of $246 million. The media described that amount as the equivalent of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.
But Bakri Mullah, secretary general of the External Information Office, told The Associated Press Tuesday in response to repeated queries that the reward was actually 500 million old Sudanese pounds, the equivalent of about $246,000.
Sudan revalued its currency more than a year ago and the new pound is worth 1,000 times more than the old one.
According to an announcement on television Tuesday morning, the bounty will go to anyone who contributes to the arrest of Khalil Ibrahim, who heads Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement.
Ibrahim's followers reached the outskirts of Khartoum on Saturday, after racing across the vast arid terrain of central Sudan with little obstruction -- even though the military spotted and unsuccessfully pursued them -- to make it to the capital's doorstep.
The attack, which Khartoum later said it had repelled, shocked the government, which is now conducting a full-scale manhunt for Ibrahim and cracking down on other opposition figures.