CAIRO, Aug 5 (AFP) — Sudanese rebels have pulled out from Kuttum, the second largest town in North Darfur state which they captured on August 1, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) said Tuesday.
SLM spokesman Ibrahim Ahmed told AFP by telephone that his group “voluntarily” withdrew its forces Monday night, in order to spare Kuttum’s inhabitants a possible government assault to recapture the town.
“We withdrew voluntarily, our goal was to destroy the military structure of the regime in Kuttum and that’s done. We did not want to remain there in the first place,” he said, denying that the pullout came under military pressure.
He said 2,500 SLM fighters had evacuated the town. They seized two army tanks and destroyed five others as well as two helicopters, he said.
Ibrahim added that he was speaking from an area just outside Kuttum.
On August 1, he said that more than 500 government troops were killed in the fight to capture the town.
Darfur is an isolated and partially desert region on Sudan’s border with Chad.
The SLM began life as the Darfur Liberation Movement in August 2001 before re-emerging under its current name in February when it began claiming responsibility for a series of anti-government attacks.