15 March 2013

Sudan: '260 Sudan Soldiers, Militias Killed' in Fresh South Darfur Clashes - Rebels

Nyala — A total of 260 soldiers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and pro-government militias were killed in battles on Friday in South Darfur, rebels say, adding they have lost three men. Local witnesses confirmed the clashes.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga from the field, the military spokesman of the rebel group Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), Adam Saleh Abkar, said that out of 260 dead, 170 were SAF soldiers and 90 were militias. An insurgent leader known as Ali Trebo was among the dead.

The fighting took place on Friday in the area of Abga Radji Biaman in Bielel locality, near Nyala. SLM-MM said it followed the "defeated" troops until the South Nyala gate, passing through the El Salam displaced camp. The militias also fled, he said.

Six rebels were injured and 36 Sudanese officers were captured in the battle. Abkar added the rebels seized 23 vehicles in good condition, loaded with several different types of heavy weapons and ammunition.

According to Abkar, SLM-MM is now in control of the Abga Radji Biaman area. They reportedly swept the region, including Kashalango -where Thursday's battles occurred- and El Salam camp.

On Thursday, the rebel spokesman announced his movement was on the way to "save" the displaced in El Salam when they were attacked by government forces. The camp, on its turn, had been under siege for days and yesterday 500 border guards arrived at the site to back-up a large militia convoy.

Among the captured SAF soldiers are: Colonel called Gamal Mohamed Ahmed Sayed, Mohamed Ahmed Sayed from Omdurman, Major Mohamed Ahmad Fadhil from Kosti, and Lieutenant Osman Mohamed Ahmed from Kassala, Abkar told Radio Dabanga.

Umma Party condemns battles

In a press release, the opposition National Umma Party, led by Imam Sadiq Al Mahdi, condemned the ongoing battles in South Darfur and the poor security in the state. "The uninterrupted series of terrorism and anarchy is taking place precisely where many people reside", it warned.

The party further condemned the "indiscriminate" aerial bombings which are killing innocent civilians for being dropped on the wrong locations, noting "the lives of offenders are sparred from the government fire."

Lives and properties of civilians are underestimated by the government, which indicates the rulers are not interested in the concerns of these people making them powerless, it was quoted.

The inability of the South Darfur government to put a halt to the hostilities was also criticized in the statement, in addition to the lootings on roads, which are under the state's jurisdiction.

"Public raiding, the kidnapping of innocents and the blackmail of the hostages' families happen in broad day light not far from the office of the government in Nyala", the statement claimed.

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