Golo — The spokesperson of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) declared the army is "in full control" of the Jildu garrison in West Jebel Marra, Central Darfur, despite rebel attempts to capture it.
Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa'ad said government troops confronted and "chased away" members of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) in a battle that killed more than 30 rebels on Wednesday, 9 January.
The SLM-AW also suffered severe material losses during the clashes, Sa'ad affirmed, while adding that the army is "sweeping insurgents off the area".
Fighting in the region reportedly broke out on 23 December, when the SLM-AW claimed to have captured the Jildu garrison, leaving the government with only two strongholds in the area.
According to some testimonies, ground offensives by the government are coupled with aerial bombings of several nearby villages. Dozens have died so far according to several reports, including civilians.
Jildu is an important junction that connects East and West Jebel Marra, located near the central town of Golo in Central Darfur.
Nimr Abdulrahman, spokesman of the SLM-AW, described the declarations of the army's spokesman as "lies" when speaking to Radio Dabanga on Wednesday.
He asserted the SLM-AW is still in "complete control of Jildu" and that they actually halted another attempt of the government's militias to regain control of the garrison for the army.
Abdulrahman asserted that several government troops were killed and that the latest attacks were led by the same militia leader who had previously tried regaining control of Jildu, called Burhan.
The pronouncement of the army's spokesman comes in a time in which the SAF's morale is low, as its forces are "collapsing", Nimr suggested.
According to the rebel's spokesman, the National Congress Party is often dishonest. He mentioned to Radio Dabanga that the minister of defense lied to the whole parliament stating the army was present in Jildu and in full control of the situation.
However, he completed, "everyone knows that in fact it had been defeated and fled the area".
On Tuesday, UNAMID's Acting Joint Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou visited the governor of Central Darfur Dr. Yousif Tibin and expressed "serious concerns over the ongoing fighting in west Jebel Marra".
Governor Tibin informed UNAMID that "armed groups had taken control of the towns of Golo and Rockero in west Jebel Marra", a statement read.
He added that about 850 families have been displaced and fled to Nertiti as a result of the fighting, while others are believed to be wandering in the mountains seeking safety.
Mindaoudou condemned the clashes, noting it "endangers the safety of the civilian population in the area".
She assured the governor that UNAMID will continue providing assistance in facilitating humanitarian assistance to all those in need.
The Acting Joint Special Representative stressed that "all parties involved in the conflict should respect their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law".