News24

Rebels seize town in Sudan's Darfur

2012-05-08 22:29

Khartoum - Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region said on Tuesday they had seized control of a town from government troops, the latest in a reported upsurge of fighting in a region that has seen nearly a decade of unrest.

"Today our joint troops took control of Girayda after fighting with SAF," the Sudanese Armed Forces, said Abdullah Moursal, spokesperson for the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)-Minni Minnawi faction.

Girayda is about 100km south of Nyala, the South Darfur state capital.

"From our side there were four people wounded," Moursal said, adding that the attack took place in conjunction with rebels of the SLA faction headed by Abdelwahid Nur.

Both groups last year banded together with other insurgents in Sudan to form the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). They pledged to topple the Khartoum regime which they regard as unrepresentative of Sudan's political, ethnic and religious diversity.

An SRF spokesperson confirmed the alliance carried out the Girayda attack.

Sudan's army could not be reached for comment but the member of parliament for the Girayda area, Yacoub Mohammed Al Melik, said SLA-Minnawi troops "occupied the town and are still inside".

"We condemn this aggression because they disturbed the security of the civilians and looted their properties," Melik of the ruling National Congress Party said in a statement to local media.

Unamid concerned

The United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, referred in its latest weekly bulletin to "several reports" of attacks by rebels in South Darfur, leading to a worsening security situation.

In April, the head of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission to Darfur (Unamid) expressed concern that rebels in Darfur were exploiting tensions between Sudan and South Sudan along their disputed frontier.

Both countries now say they are complying with a United Nations Security Council resolution which ordered them to stop fighting from last Friday after a month-long border war.

The UN estimates that at least 300 000 people have died as a result of the Darfur conflict, which began in 2003 when rebels from non-Arab tribes in Sudan's far west rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.

The Sudanese government puts the death toll at 10 000.

Almost two million people are still displaced.