Sudanese army says "clashed” with Darfur rebels killing dozens

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) – Sudanese army and Darfur rebels engaged in heavy fighting as of Monday, resulting the death of dozens.

The armed forces said it was currently leading mopping up operations in north Darfur.

The fighting was confirmed by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

In a statement carried by the official Sudan News Agency, the Sudanese Army said it killed at least 25 Darfur rebels and injured several others in fighting in north Darfur state, near al Fashir, the main town in the region, but said it recorded on dead.

The UN African Union Mission in Darfur confirmed that intense fighting, involving the air force, was currently going on in the region and that its peacekeepers were prevented from entering the area.

The official spokesman for the Sudanese army Colonel Sawarmy Khalid Saad was quoted by the agency as saying the fighting started early Monday morning and the mopping up operations were still going on.

The agency quoted him as saying that the armed forces and rebel factions clashed three times in the region and that the Sudanese air force was heavily engaged in the operations.

The army has indirectly denied rebel claims that they shot down one military plane. The spokesman said one helicopter developed a technical problem and that it landed near the main airport in Al Fahir.
“All its crew returned to base safe and sound,” the armed forces said.  

According to the UNAMID statement “intense fighting was raging between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi Movements in Tabit, located approximately 45km south of Al Fashir, North Darfur.”

But the army said the fighting included the main rebel movement, the Justice and Equality Movement JEM, and two Sudan liberation movement factions, that of former presidential assistant, Mini Arko Minawi and that of the Paris-based Mohamed Nur.

“UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari is very concerned by this latest outbreak of violence. Gambari reminds belligerents that the Darfur conflict cannot be solved militarily and that peace can only be achieved through an inclusive political process, not through the use of force,” UNAMID said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

The Sudanese army spokesman, meanwhile, said army troops continued “combing and mopping up operations against the remnants of the rebel movements of Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement Mini Ark Minawi's faction and Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdul Wahid Faction, as well as other outlawed elements”.

He said in the first battle that took place in Tabit area where “a huge battle took place” the army “destroyed the rebel movements in the area and seized four vehicles and destroyed six others after the rebels fled away to Tukmary area, East of Jabel Mara after sustaining sixteen dead and a huge number of injured.”

The spokesman said a second battle took place in the area of Tukmary where troops clashed with rebels once again “inflicting heavy losses on the enemy troops and destroying five armoured vehicles and killing nine rebel leaders including Abdul Rahaman Tarjook and Isahag Kijjies and a huge number of injured”.

The spokesman said the Sudanese air force participated effectively in those battles and that all planes returned to their base safely.

He said one helicopter which sustained a technical breakdown forcing it to land near the airport of al Fashir and all its crew retuned to base safely.
-0- PANA MO/MA 25jan2011

25 january 2011 22:59:45

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