Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: Army Claims Victory Over Rebels, Two LJM Field Commanders Killed

El-Fasher — Two field commanders of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), Hamad Abbaker Dahia and Abdel Kareem Hassan, were reportedly killed in an attack launched by the Sudanese army. Sources informed Radio Dabanga that the armed forces attacked the movement's site at the western gate of El-Fasher early Wednesday morning, 5 December.

At the same time, the army allegedly arrested three members of the movement and seized three of its Land Cruiser vehicles loaded with arms and ammunition. The movement led by Dr. Tijani Sese, head of the Darfur Regional Authority, described the attack 'which came without any warning' as a 'clear violation of the ceasefire agreement' signed between the government and the movement.

Ahmed Fadel, spokesman of the LJM, described the incident in an interview with Radio Dabanga as a 'dangerous precedent' and a 'violation of the ceasefire agreement'. He added that the government forces paraded through El-Fasher after carrying out the attack on the movement's forces, claiming that the victory parade indicates that the attack was 'premeditated'.

The spokesman called on UNAMID to investigate the incident immediately and demanded the government to clarify the meaning of the attack.

'Rebels ambushed and defeated'

Maj. Gen.Taj el-Deen Ahmed of the Sudanese army, claims that the attack was carried out based on 'verified' reports that the Sudan Revolutionary Front was preparing to bomb the city of El-Fasher to 'terrorize' citizens. He added that clashes broke out in the area of Hillat al Sheikh at about 14 kilometers southwest of El Fasher after the armed forces ambushed the rebels.

Ahmed said that the army killed two rebels and injured another, in addition to seizing two Land Cruiser vehicles, a rocket launcher and 29 missiles all belonging to the SRF.

For his part, North Darfur's Governor, Osman Mohamed Yousef Kiber, said that the rocket launcher which was seized by the army, was pointed in the direction of Abu Shouk and El Salam camps in El Fasher.

'No connection to SRF'

Ahmed Fadel, LJM spokesman stressed that the movement denied all allegations made by the authorities of North Darfur and the armed forces. He explained that the troops attacked by the army have no connection to the SRF. Fadel stated that "it is well known since the signing of the Doha document which troops are affiliated with LJM and where they are based".

The spokesman added that the troops only visit the city of El Fasher for administrative purposes, in coordination with the army. According to Fadel, the army was informed about the troops' visit to El Fasher.

He stressed that the troops usually leave their weapons at the city's gate. The troops, led by Abdullah Banda, arrived in the city 9 days ago, the spokesman said. Abdullah Banda is the movement's deputy commissioner of security arrangements.

'The end of insurgency is near'

Yaqoub Ismail, deputy chief of staff of operations and training of the ground forces said at a celebration held in El Fasher that the army 'attacked and defeated' SRF troops. He described the troops as 'mercenaries, murderers, thugs and cowards'. Ismail said: "they have been trying to bomb El Fasher from a distance of 25 to 30 kilometers, but have not succeeded so far".

Ismail stated that 'the end of insurgency is near' and that the army is 'sweeping and cleaning' the area.

However, the SRF asserted they were not at all involved in the battle.

'Mind game'

Adam Salah Abker, spokesman of Sudan Liberation Movement Mini Minnawi, integrated in the SRF, described the accusations made by North Darfur's authorities and the army about the SRF as 'untrue' and 'deforming the public opinion'.

He stressed that SRF had nothing to do with this battle and that they did not lose any soldiers or vehicles. The spokesman said: "the governor and the army are celebrating in El Fasher on the skulls of the soldiers". In reference to a recent battle in Wadi Murrah, Abker said "the army was not able to evacuate the corpses, until today".

Abker also denied the accusation made by North Darfur's governor that a rocket launcher was pointed towards Abu Shouk and El Salam camps in El Fasher. He described it as a 'lie' and a 'mind game'.

The spokesman stated: "we took up our arms for the sake of the displaced people, how can you tell them that these same troops that are protecting them and fighting for their rights are now pointing a rocket launcher at them to kill them?"

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