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SLM-AW says repulsed government attack in Jebel Marra

May 12, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur said it has defeated the Sudanese army in clashes on several areas of Jebel Marra on Friday.

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SLM-AW fighters on guard during a visit by UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra, West Darfur, on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Saturday, SLM-AW military spokesperson Walid Mohamed Abakar (aka Tongo) said government forces attempted to attack their positions in a number of areas in west Jebel Marra including Tori, Gundi Too, Tortora and Tuli as well as Kara area in the southern part of Jebel Marra.

He pointed out that the SLM-AW fighters “managed to defeat the government army and inflicted on them heavy losses in lives and equipment”, saying the government forces “fled the battlefield leaving behind their dead, prisoners and equipment”.

According to the statement, a number of government officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes in Kara area including a colonel who was commanding the force and a lieutenant named Mansur.

It added seven of the government troops were captured including a sergeant named Bashir Ahmed Radi, saying one of the Movement’s fighters was killed and three injured during the clashes.

The SLM-AW said its fighters also seized 4 troop carrier vehicles and 12 boxes of RPG-7 projectiles besides large quantities of munitions and small and medium weapons.

The Sudanese Armed Forces spokesperson was not reachable for comment.

In a report covering the security situation in Darfur for the period from 16 February to 15 April 2018, the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reported low-scale skirmishes in Jebel Marra area between the government forces and the SLM-AW fighters.

On 12 April 2017, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra. However, the army continued for several months to carry out attacks on rebel’s pockets in the mountainous area.

Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located in a water-rich area that is characterised by a mild climate.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the UNAMID, admitting that the security situation has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the SLM-AW refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

The Sudanese army has been fighting armed groups in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

SUDAN CALLS ON UN TO SANCTION SLM-AW

Meanwhile, Sudan’s permanent envoy to the United Nations Omer Dahab on Thursday demanded the UN Security Council to force the holdout groups to join the peace process.

In his remarks on the UNAMID report to the Council over the situation in Darfur, Dahab said peace must not be held captive to the bad faith and whims of Abdel-Wahid al-Nur.

He called on the Council to add al-Nur’s name to the sanctions list, saying the rebel leader and his limited number of followers are obstructing the peace process.

It is noteworthy that the SLM-AW rejects negotiations with the government demanding the disbandment of government militias, the return of displaced persons and financial compensations.

(ST)