May 10, 2009 (EL-FASHER) — Sudan said today it was expecting a rebel attack on the capital of North Darfur State, Al-Fasher, expressing its readiness to deal with any assailants.
Minister of Defense Abdel-Rahim Ahmed Hussein said today that they expect an attack by the Justice and Equality Movement on Al-Fasher. He added the Sudan Armed Forces are ready to deal with any aggression on the country.
The minister pointed to the movements by JEM fighters at the north-western borders of the country’s saying they have the support of the Government of Chad.
The minister made a short visit on Sunday morning to the capital of North Darfur state to inspect the security situation and review military plans to secure the three capitals of the region, particularly Al-Fasher. He also visited Nyala the capital of South Darfur state where he inaugurated some new buildings for the Sudanese army there.
Reports from Khartoum say the security services have expected since a month a major attack on one of the capitals of the three states in Darfur region. JEM rebels also threatened to attack the region.
More than a year ago JEM warned it would attack the West Darfur capital at El-Geneina and told civilians and aid workers to stay in their compounds and away from government military bases. Though the insurgents have never held any of the region’s major towns, a successful raid on the El Fasher airport in 2003 inflamed the situation in Darfur.
Two days ago JEM clashed with the former rebel Sudan Liberation Movement of the Senior Presidential Assistant Minni Minnawi, near Umm Baru, northwest of El-Fasher. JEM official Suleiman Sendal accused the SAF of taking part in the fighting but the army’s spokesperson dismissed the charge.
Reliable sources from El Fasher said the visit of the defense minister to the region was also motivated by the tension between the Sudanese army and a local militia called Border Intelligence Division.
Two members of the militia were killed by the Sudanese army after refusing to be disarmed on Friday. On Saturday they attacked the SAF and killed two soldiers to revenge the deaths Friday.
The Sudanese government and JEM rebels are holding talks in Doha on the resumption of the peace process and the implemtation of the goodwill agreement signed last February.