December 24, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese army and fighters from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) released conflicting statements about a second battle took place in North Darfur area of Shangili Tobayi today.
- JEM fighters (file/Reuters)
On Thursday, the rebel group attacked the government troops in Dar El Salam, 35k away from Shangili Tobayi. The two locations were controlled by a Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by the signatory of 2006 peace deal Minni Minnawi who is now "legitimate target" for the Sudanese army.
The Mediators in Doha, Qatar struggle to stop hostilities in the restive region by brokering a ceasefire agreement between the two warring parties. The mediation said a ceasefire should be signed before the 31 December.
"The (Sudan) Armed Forces today evening attacked the so-called (alliance of Justice and Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Movement Minni Minnawi faction) in Shangili Tobayi area, (North) Darfur," said a statement released by the Sudanese army spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khaled.
Al-Sawarmi further said the army inflicted heavy losses on Darfur rebels, stressing 40 fighters were killed and 4 military vehicles are seized. He also said that the army is hunting down the remnant rebels.
The UNAMID used to keep silent on issues related to military clashes between the government and the rebel groups in the region particularly when it is about who won a battle.
On the other hand, JEM said it “scored another victory" The rebels said the fighting took place at 03:30pm (local time) in Fingyar, between Shangili Tobayi and Dar El Salam, 75k south of El Fashir .
The Sudanese army dispatched a battalion from El Fashir, capital of North Darfur "to rescue remnants of its defeated army scattered in the wilderness and to ambush our soldiers while celebrating their last victory," JEM military spokesperson Ali Wafi said on Friday.
Wafi said they lost two fighters and suffered some injuries. He added they captured 19 armored vehicles without mentioning number of soldiers they killed during the fighting which lasted less than an hour according to the rebel spokesperson.
Sudanese army said the rebel forces that took part in the clashes reached the region recently from their bases in Southern Sudan, without elaboration.
SAF accuses Juba government of backing Darfur rebel groups, but the ruling SPLM rejects these accusations.
Sudanese government said since this summer it intends to seek, with the support of an African panel and UNAMID, to end the conflict in Darfur through an internal process that de facto will lead to exclude the rebel groups from the process.
The head of the AU panel and former South Africa’s president was recently in Doha to persuade the Qatari government to join these efforts, as they consider that the current process is "doomed to failure".
The African Union role in the ongoing efforts to bring peace in Darfur is highly criticized and seen as confusing by rights activists who underline the failure of AU efforts to bring justice in Darfur after Khartoum’s rejection of the hybrid courts despite the AU position hostile to the international justice.