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Sudan denies CAR accusation of supporting rebels’ attacks

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Nov 1, 2006 (KHARTOUM ) — The Sudanese government on Wednesday rejected the accusation that it had permitted militants of Central African Republic (CAR) rebels to launch attacks from the Sudanese soil.

"The Sudanese government has not and will never allow any armed groups hostile to Bangui to launch operations from its territory because it is not in the interests of Sudan," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement reiterated Sudan’s full support to the CAR against its rebel group’s offensive.

Highlighting the good bilateral relations, the statement said Sudan was keen to help the CAR government to achieve peace and security in its country.

The denial came after the CAR government summoned the Sudanese ambassador in Bangui on Tuesday and informed him of its protest over Khartoum’s support for the rebels which captured the northeastern town of Birao near the Sudanese border.

CAR Government spokesman Cyriaque Gonda said Monday that armed fighters based in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region crossed into Central African Republic a day earlier and attacked the northern town of Birao in fighting that killed both civilians and army troops.

CAR President Francois Bozize has shortened a visit to the Sino-African Summit in China and returned to Bangui after the Birao town, some 800 km northeast of the capital, was seized.

The CAR rebel group denied yesterday government accusation of being based in Sudan’s troubled Darfur.

"We are in full control of the town of Birao and its surroundings," Saboune said, adding that rebels planned to use Birao as a base to push toward the capital, Bangui, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) to the southwest, said Abakr Saboune, the sopkesperson of the rebel Union of Democratic Forces for Unity UDFU.

Saboune said the rebels had been in Central African Republic since April, when they entered from a neighboring country he declined to name.

Saboune was once a well-known army captain who served with rebels led by President Francois Bozize, who swept to power in a bush war that culminated with a rebel assault on Bangui in 2003.

(ST/Xinhua)

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