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`Heavy fighting` between Sudan Army and Darfur rebels

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"The SAF have now withdrawn and the area is fully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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