Home | News    Tuesday 15 July 2003

Heavy fighting in western Sudan


KHARTOUM, July 15 (AFP) — The Sudanese army said its troops were still fighting Tuesday in and around a western border garrison town that a separatist movement said it had captured the day before.

An official armed forces statement said that "a group of highwaymen and armed bandits (Monday) attacked once again the border town of Al-Teinah, targetting civilians and their property."

An officer in the office of the armed forces spokesman, who asked not to be named, cited a statement that said the attack was the second in four days.

"The battles are still going on" Tuesday, he said, adding the fighting was in and around Al-Teinah.

The armed forces statement said government troops "stood up courageously to the attackers and inflicted heavy losses on them," the office said without giving specific casualties or other details.

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), a separatist rebel movement in the Darfur regions of western Sudan, said Monday it had seized the town in fighting which it said left 250 government soldiers dead.

"SLM forces have seized control of the garrison of Al-Teinah and killed about 250 government soldiers after fierce fighting," said Mani Arkoi Minawi, secretary general of the movement, in a phone call to AFP in Cairo.

Fourteen military vehicles were captured, he said, while the SLM’s losses were only one dead and seven wounded.

The governor of North Darfur state said on Saturday that 15 Sudanese soldiers and 30 rebels were killed when Darfur separatists attacked the border garrison town.

About 200 rebels, accompanied by armed bandits, launched an assault on Al-Teinah, Osman Yousuf Kubur told reporters. He said the army troops chased the rebels out of town and destroyed a number of their vehicles.

A group of the rebels crossed the border and engaged in fighting with Chadian army troops, Kubur said.

The SLM has since late February 2003 carried out several attacks on government forces in the remote and partly desert regions of Darfur.

On June 19, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail appealed to the people of western Darfur to lay down their arms and launch a dialogue with the government, in an interview published in the independent newspaper Al-Ayam.

The interview appeared to mark a shift in the government’s policy toward a region where it had long denied any political dimension to unrest and taken a tough stand on security.

However, army officials were on Tuesday again referring to the attackers as highwaymen.

The Sudanese authorities have also accused John Garang’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army rebels of aiding the rebellion in the Darfur region, a charge the SPLA has denied.

The SLM is not included in the framework of peace talks in Kenya aimed at ending Khartoum’s 20-year civil war with the SPLA.

It has never acknowledged any link with the SPLA, but called in mid-March for an "understanding" with other opposition forces fighting the Khartoum government.

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  • 7 December 2011 21:31, by athor deng

    wow, who the heck to believe on here? 250 dead on the SAf side and One dead and 7 wounded on the SLM side/, i hope its true but its sound not true at all...Good job SLM if u guys are telling the truth..

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  • 25 September 2017 13:35, by Yelena Hopper

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