Khartoum — The spokesman of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) denied the presence of Mali militants in Darfur, despite multiple eyewitnesses having confirmed their presence across the region this week to Radio Dabanga.
Various sources, including some Darfur rebel groups, allege that armed Islamic groups coming from Mali were seen in different parts of Darfur, particularly in Kutum, North Darfur.
Onlookers told Radio Dabanga that some of these militants have "long beards, wear outfits resembling those found in Western Sahara and black shawls". They added that a number of them speak French and most do not speak Arabic.
Colonel Sawarmi Khaled Saad told SUNA news agency on Wednesday that an undetermined number of South Sudan-based rebels had entered South Darfur. However, he affirmed "these forces have nothing to do with the claims from the Darfur movements".
According to him the central government ordered South Darfur security authorities to destroy the rebel forces, but he did not provide any further details about it.
"Formed by government"
Dr. Jibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), ridiculed the statements made by the colonel during an interview with Radio Dabanga.
Ibrahim, who is also vice-president of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), added Saad's main task is denying facts and stressed that these Islamic groups coming from Mali were initiated by the Sudanese government.
"The Khartoum regime released some prisoners from jail, gave them weapons, cars, equipment and sent them to fight in Libya under Gadaffi", he claimed.
Next, these militants went to Mali and are now coming back to Darfur bringing comrades along, Ibrahim was quoted as saying.
He said all of these militants were formed and educated by the Sudanese government and that their current locations are "very well known".
The accusations of some Western countries and of the international community that Sudan is collapsing and that it will become a sponsor and hotbed for terrorism are "completely untrue", Ibrahim said.
He urged the West to understand that the Sudanese regime is actually the terrorist, considering it is "building and exporting" such activities and providing it a breeding ground to further expand.
Sudan is the center of terrorism in east Africa, JEM's chief continued, "a connection between west and east [Africa]".
If the international community wants to solve the problem of terrorism, it must then help overthrow the regime of Khartoum he suggested. "If this does not happen, the world will regret", he warned.