February 18, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of several rebel groups fighting a decade-long war against Khartoum in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, Monday claimed that they have detected and documented infiltration of Islamist rebels from Mali.
- Militiamen riding two vehicles near Kutum in North Darfur state. JEM says they are accompanying some Malian jihadists (Photo released by JEM spokesperson in Feb 2013)
JEM spokesperson Jibril Adam Bilal said in statements that the Sudanese government "tried to mislead the revolutionary resistance forces and the public when it allowed the entry of fugitive Malian militias for the purpose of resettling them and then using them in the ongoing war in Sudan".
Bilal claimed that these militias were integrated into government militias known as Abu-Taira and were moved on Sunday south of North Darfur state’s Kutum area and were led by two army colonels and a captain named Adam Osman.
"We were able to take pictures of them in different places and we will not let them disappear from our sight until we put an end to them" the JEM official pledged before stressing that Darfur will be no less dangerous to them than Mali was after they became part of Khartoum’s militias.
Several Darfur rebel groups in recent days have alleged that Malian Islamist rebels, fleeing airstrikes on their positions and advances by ground forces from France, Mali and some African forces, entered Sudan to seek refuge.
Western governments fear that al-Qaeda-linked fighters will cross African borders as a to seek refuge and to regroup.
But Sudan’s army spokesman Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad told state media this week that an unspecified number of rebels based in South Sudan had entered South Darfur state via Sudan’s remote border with the Central African Republic.
"These forces have nothing to do with the claims from the Darfur movements," he said.