April 19, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said on Thursday that its troops clashed with the Sudanese army around Kharasana, near the disputed Heglig region in South Kordofan.
- This photo of Sunday, April 15, 2012, shows a soldier from the Darfuri rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) at a South Sudanese position in Heglig, South Sudan. (AP Photo/Michael Onyiego)
JEM and the two main factions of Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel-Wahid Mohamed Nur (SLM-AW) and Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) are part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) formed last November with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) which fights Khartoum in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The four rebel groups vowed publicly to topple Khartoum’s regime. However, the SLM-AW distanced itself from the fight over Heglig while the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) accuse JEM of taking part in the attack on its troops by the South Sudanese army.
In a statement released Thursday JEM military spokesperson, Badawi Mosa Al-Sakin, claimed they defeated the Sudanese troops in two positions in Kharsana near Heglig, South Kordofan.
The rebel official, said the attack comes in the framework of SRF policy to dispossess Khartoum of oil revenue. He disclosed that two Darfuri small groups, SLM-Unity and a splinter faction of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) participated in the attack.
The two groups are not part of the SRF but coordinating with JEM. On 13 April, an LJM splinter faction signed a merger pact with JEM. The deal was inked by Ahmed Hussein Adam, foreign relations secretary and Sayed Charif Jarel Nabi, acting leader of the LJM breakaway group.
The Sudanese army did not react to the statement.
South Sudan is under huge international pressure to withdraw its troops from Heglig, in a bid to contain the conflict and push Khartoum and Juba to negotiate a peaceful settlement to their divergences.
Some observers believe the rebel groups might seek to control areas the South Sudanese troops might withdraw from. However, Khartoum says it would not stop its forces at the border if oil installations are damaged by the attackers.