September 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Heavy fighting erupted Thursday in Sudan’s border state of South Kordofan after the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) attacked army positions, the latest sign of an escalating conflict.
- A huge explosion near a United Nations compound in South Kordofan state, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 (AP)
The SPLM-N claimed its troops “destroyed” two garrisons of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) after fierce fighting in Khor Al-Dulib area of Al-Rashad locality, 20 miles south of Al-Dilling town.
According to Gamar Dalman, the adviser to the SPLM-N’s chairman in South Kordofan, their troops inflicted heavy losses in lives on SAF and its aligned paramilitary forces. He further claimed that the SPLM-N had destroyed 13 vehicles laden with machine guns and seized a number of small arms and ammunition.
“The SPLM-N is determined to liberate all the towns of South Kordofan’s state,” he said in a press release seen by Sudan Tribune.
Reports of the fighting were corroborated by a UN source speaking on condition of anonymity to AFP.
The source said that the SPLM-N attacked at around 0530 and killed 12 SAF soldiers. According to the source, three vehicles including two private buses and a car belonging to an international NGO were caught in the crossfire. He also said that in the NGO vehicle a Sudanese staff member was killed and his driver seriously wounded.
Reports of battles in South Kordofan are difficult to verify independently due to restrictions on media access to the area.
Meanwhile, a local official has confirmed that the SPLM-N launched an attack on Khor Al-Dulib area, but claimed they suffered heavy losses.
Quoted by the Sudanese Media Center, a website believed to be run by the country’s intelligence services, the commissioner of Al-Rashad locality, Khalid Mukhtar, said that SAF had repulsed the attack, killing more than 30 SPLM-N attackers, including officers, and arresting two soldiers.
He also claimed SAF had seized a considerable amount of weapons left behind by the attackers who are “being chased by the armed forces in the bushes”
Mukhtar described the attack as “desperate,” saying that his locality was heavily guarded and witnessing a great deal of stability.
The genesis of the conflict dates to early June when Sudan decided to disarm SPLM-N fighters who were aligned with South Sudan which gained independence in July 2011.
Khartoum has banned the SPLM-N and vowed to “crush” the rebellion, but appears to be encountering a great difficulty in doing so.
Another bout of fighting erupted earlier this week around Talodi locality which the SPLM-N said it captured, a claim denied by the Sudanese army.
The SPLM-N also reported that SAF carried out aerial bombardment on a village whose residents refused to join the government’s paramilitary forces, according to an SPLM-N official.
Gamar Dalman said in a press release that an SAF airplane had dropped three bombs on Wirni village in Talodi locality and another bomb on the house of the village’s chief Abdul Rahman Al-Mahdi who died as a result.
The SPLM-N strongly denounced SAF’s aerial bombardment of civilian areas, adding that the attack on the village was a result of its people’s refusal to join the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) which is fighting alongside SAF.