Home | News    Thursday 17 July 2003

Darfur rebels say they killed more than 300 Sudanese soldiers

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CAIRO, July 17 (AFP) — Fighters from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) killed more than 300 Sudanese army soldiers in a battle in North Darfur state, a leader of the rebel group told AFP.

"Three hundred and two government soldiers were killed, while the SLM suffered 25 dead in its ranks in fighting in the morning northwest of the city of Kutum," Mani Arkoi Minawi said over the telephone.

The SLM also downed a military helicopter and seized 25 army vehicles, according to the group’s secretary general.

There was no immediate confirmation of the fighting from the Khartoum government.

Minawi said the attack was "revenge against the army which Wednesday torched 19 villages in the Kutum area".

The SLM has launched several attacks in the Darfur region of west Sudan since it first surfaced in February. It says it is fighting for an end to government neglect of Darfur and has called for the overthrow of Khartoum’s Islamist government.

The government has refused to acknowledge any political motivation for unrest in the states of North, South and West Darfur, blaming it instead on "armed criminal gangs and outlaws".

It says they are aided by tribes from neighboring Chad.

On Tuesday, the Sudanese army said its troops were fighting in and around the western border garrison town of Al-Teinah, which the SLM said it captured the previous day, killing 250 soldiers.

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