The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor requested on Friday an arrest warrant for Sudan's Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.

The Hague-based ICC, the world's top war crimes court, has already issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of orchestrating genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

Hussein was interior minister and the special representative of the president in Darfur at the time of the crimes, the ICC prosecutor said in a statement.

It said that the crimes took place during attacks on several towns and villages in West Darfur, adding: the attacks followed a common pattern.

The government of the Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the air force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of 4 million inhabitants.

(Reporting By Sara Webb and Gilbert Kreijger)