photo by jon nicholson

news - Darfur Rebels Accuse Sudan Army of Attacks

september 18th, 2009

"Darfur rebels accused Sudanese government forces of attacking their positions on Thursday and Friday, weeks after a senior peacekeeper said the region was no longer in a state of war.

The reports came after a period of relative calm in the region, where more than six years of fighting has driven an estimated 2.7 million from their homes.

Commanders from an arm of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) told Reuters Sudan's army, backed up by allied militias, launched ground and air attacks on their positions in territory around the North Darfur area of Korma.

An official from Darfur's joint UN/African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said it had received confirmation of the attack from non-rebel sources--and peacekeeping troops had heard explosions coming from the area. No one was immediately available to comment from Sudan's army.

UNAMID's departing commander Martin Agwai sparked controversy last month when he said Darfur was no longer in a state of war, saying rebels were too fragmented to mount long-term campaigns or hold new territory.

But he also warned there might be a rise in fighting toward the end of the current rainy season as rebel and government forces tried to strengthen their positions ahead of the resumption of troubled talks, scheduled in Doha in October."

MORE: "Darfur rebels accuse Sudan army of attacks" (Wash. Post)

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