October 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM/NAIROBI) – Sudanese government forces clashed with rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) when the latter attempted to take over a village east of South Kordofan State on Sunday, both sides confirmed.
- SPLA-N fighters stand in front of a grenade launcher captured from Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) near Gos village in the rebel-held territory of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan on 1 May 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
South Kordofan governor Ahmad Haroun announced on Monday that the clashes occurred after SPLM-N forces attacked Um Dihalib village in the suburbs of the strategic town of Talodi which the insurgents attacked and attempted to wrestle control of it from the government a number of times.
According to Haroun, government forces killed 12 SPLM-N fighters, wounded dozens and arrested one. He said that four civilians died in the fighting.
Haroun also said that government forces seized from the rebels three rocket-propelled grenades and a number of ammunition.
SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Loddi has also confirmed the fighting as well as its time and place but he disputed Haroun’s account of the casualties involved.
When contacted by Sudan Tribune on Monday, Loddi said that they attacked the village with the intent of occupying it but they later had to withdraw due to “technical considerations”
According to Loddi, their forces are still around the area. He added that the figures Haroun cited about the number of causalities and arms seized are “inflated” as he put it.
In response to a question about the SPLM-N position vis-à-vis the recently-signed security arrangements deal between Sudan and South Sudan and how it might affect their activities, Loddi said that although the SPLM-N welcomed the agreement but it does not concern it.
Loddi explained that the agreement is between Sudan and South Sudan, not Sudan and the SPLM-N, therefore “we will continue our work and fighting until achieving our goal of regime change.”
The security arrangement deal provides for the establishment of a demilitarized buffer zone along the 1800-km common borders between Sudan and South Sudan. The SPLM-N claims its forces control 40 percent of the border areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile which border South Sudan. The rebels hint that the implementation of the deal is impossible without their involvement.
Loddi also expressed regret over the death of civilians during a series of attacks the SPLM-N launched over the last three days on positions of government forces inside South Kordofan capital Kadugli.
He however maintained that the attacks were launched in self-defense because the government has been bombing civilians in their controlled areas ever since the conflict in the region started in June last year.
Sudan government media says seven women and children were killed in the SPLM-N attack on Kadugli on Monday.
The intensity of fighting and SPLM-N activities in South Kordofan increased notably after Sudan and South Sudan signed their agreements including the security one last month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.