April 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) confirmed on Sunday that they attacked Talodi town in South Kordofan State and alleged to have seized partial control of it, denying Sudan army’s (SAF) claims of routing their forces.
On Saturday, SAF’s official spokesman, Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, said that their forces had repulsed fresh attempts by the SPLM-N to capture Talodi, the third largest town in South Kordofan and site of a key army garrison.
According to Saad, rebel forces suffered heavy losses in lives and equipment.
But the rebels whose several attempts to capture the strategic town have not been successful so far gave a different account, saying that battles were still taking place after they took control of an important area inside Talodi.
SPLM-N’s spokesman Arnu Loddi said in a statement that their forces had wrestled control of Maflo village and Talodi Nuba part of Talodi.
“Fighting is still going on inside the town and the SPLM-N army is in total control of the situation”, he claimed.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Media Center (SMC), a pro-government news website, cited the mayor of Talodi as saying that SAF had begun to flush out remaining rebel pockets in the area.
The local official said that the rebel attack led to the displacement of estimated 20,000 citizens, the killing of a 6 year old girl and injury of 13 people.
The mayor also said that SAF had killed more than 100 rebel members in the battles.
Restrictions imposed by Khartoum on the presence of media and aid groups in South Kordofan make it impossible to verify claims made by the warring sides.
SPLM-N rebels have been fighting government forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile since June and September last year, respectively.
The rebels formed part of the army of neighbouring South Sudan’s, SPLA, before the latter seceded in July last year but Khartoum accuse Juba of continuing to back its former comrades-in-arms.
Fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is expected to intensify due to renewed conflict between Sudan and South Sudan over border areas.
There are also fears of an imminent humanitarian crisis in the region. Aid workers say that 200,000 to 250,000 face food shortages in South Kordofan due to the prevention of agriculture by Khartoum’s campaign of aerial bombardment.
Khartoum cites security concerns to justify its refusal to allow foreign aid groups access to the two states.