`Heavy fighting` between Sudan Army and Darfur rebels
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Last Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 20:45
Khartoum(Sudan): Heavy clashes between the Sudanese Army and a coalition of armed groups in north Darfur caused a number of casualties on both sides, the Army and rebels said on Tuesday.

"An SAF (northern army) patrol was attacked on Sunday by joint forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and (Minni) Minnawi's branch of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) in north Darfur," army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said to a news agency.

"The fighting resulted in a number of casualties and people injured from both sides, but we don't have the details yet. SAF destroyed 10 of their vehicles."

JEM, the most heavily-armed of the Darfur rebel groups, said in a statement late yesterday that the army had attacked the Sagor area, northwest of El-Fasher, with Antonov aircraft, MiG fighter planes and around 180 land vehicles.

JEM confirmed that it had fought alongside the rebel faction of SLA-Minnawi, but claimed that it had defeated the government forces and captured 13 of their vehicles, together with ammunition and heavy weapons.

"There was very heavy fighting. The army bombed villages in the area and many people were killed and displaced," said Gibril Adam, JEM spokesman, without providing casualty figures.

"The SAF have now withdrawn and the area is fully under our control," he added.

JEM and the SLA have fought alongside each other in periodic clashes with the army since December, when rebel leader Minni Minnawi took up arms against the government for failing to implement a peace deal they signed in 2006.

Renewed fighting between armed groups and the Sudanese army has resulted in more than 70,000 new arrivals over the past four months at camps in Darfur set up for those fleeing their homes, according to UN reports.

At least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 1.8 million people forced to flee their homes since non-Arab rebels first rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003, according to the United Nations. The government puts the death toll at 10,000.


First Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 20:45

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