Khartoum — Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) claimed that its forces destroyed a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) column consisting of 120 vehicles near South Sudan's capital city of Nyala amid reports of growing tension in the state.
In a statement signed by SLA -MM military spokesperson Adam Saleh Abakr, the rebels said that they inflicted heavy losses among army ranks in this "preemptive" strike and seized many vehicles and ammunition forcing remaining SAF soldiers to feel for safety inside Nyala.
SLA-MM said this column was part of forces mobilized by the state's governor following their losses in recent battles.
The rebels said that they could target military and security posts inside Nyala but will not do so out of fear for civilian safety.
There was no reaction yet to the SLA-MM claims from SAF spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa'ad.
A resident speaking to Reuters confirmed fighting in the area.
"The rebels arrived with four cars and attacked the army in an area some 15 km (nine miles) from Nyala where the government presence is weak," said the resident, declining to be named.
This month South Darfur officials spoke of ongoing fighting with rebels in Oum-Gounga, which lies south of the capital town of Nyala but asserted that SAF had the upper hand.
But multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that SAF suffered heavy losses in the battle and that the rebels managed to seize a number of army vehicles.