Khartoum: The Sudanese army said it killed 110 rebels as it repelled an assault in South Kordofan state today, although the insurgents denied the death toll.
Four soldiers were also killed, said a statement from the military which rarely gives assessments of victims in its conflict with the rebels of the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan.
The SPLM-N confirmed the attack but denied that 110 of its fighters were killed, reporting just three dead and 15 wounded among its ranks.
The rebels targeted Al-Atmur region, where troops on Friday overran a base that the insurgents had used to launch mortar attacks on Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan.
"The armed forces repelled an attack by rebels who wanted to enter the region of Al-Atmur liberated by the army," military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in a statement carried by the official SUNA news agency.
"After three hours of fighting the soldiers managed to suppress them, killing 110 and wounding a large number," he added.
SPLM-N spokesman Arnu Lodi said the rebels had managed to "take a part of Al-Atmur" and that fighting was ongoing.
The rebels "also wanted to march on Kadugli", he added, citing reports of "heavy artillery bombing by the rebels of military targets" in the state capital and Al-Atmur.
"A large number of soldiers were killed and wounded in Al-Atmur," the spokesman added.
Ethnic minority rebels in South Kordofan have been fighting government forces for three years in a largely hidden war which the United Nations says has affected more than one million people.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last week that civilians are bearing the brunt of the fighting "with more people displaced and civilian structures hit in SPLM-N areas".