November 2, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir today spoke of an imminent attack on a rebel stronghold in the Blue Nile state heightening fears of new clashes in the coming days.
- Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (AFP)
Addressing supporters in the twin capital city of Omdurman, Bashir said that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Popular Defense Forces (PDF) units are on the outskirts of al-Kurmuk town.
The Sudanese leader underscored that his forces are determined to perform Eid al-Adha prayers in the town which contains bases of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar. Bashir described SPLM-N forces there as ’mercenaries.’
Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al-Adha religious holiday, which will begin on Sunday.
The Blue Nile state was the scene of fighting between SAF and SPLM-N since early September. Agar at the time was elected governor of the state but was sacked by Bashir shortly afterwards under his constitutional powers to impose emergency laws.
Agar accused the SAF of firing on his convoy and thus triggering the fighting between the two sides. The SPLM-N was flushed out of most of the state in the fighting that ensued and is now believed to be confined to the town of Kurmuk.
Residents who fled the state said that SAF is conducting aerial bombardments in Kurmuk, causing widespread havoc and casualties among civilians.
The United Nations says about 27,500 Sudanese refugees have streamed into Ethiopia since the fighting broke out.
The Sudanese government is also fighting SPLM-N units in South Kordofan state since June. This week SAF said it repelled a massive attack by the rebels on the city of Teludi in the state killing hundreds from the assailants.
Khartoum also repeated accusations that South Sudan is providing support to SPLM-N in these areas.