February 22, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) claimed its forces destroyed a Sudanese army (SAF) column consisting of 120 vehicles near South Darfur’s capital city Nyala, amid reports of growing tensions in the state.
- Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), loyal to leader Minni Minawi, pictured in El-Fasher, the administrative capital of North Darfur on 19 September 2008. (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
In a statement signed by SLA -MM military spokesperson Adam Saleh Abakr, the rebels said that they had inflicted heavy losses among army ranks in the “pre-emptive” strike and seized a number of vehicles and ammunition, forcing remaining SAF soldiers to flee to safety inside Nyala.
SLA-MM said the column was part of additional forces mobilised by the state’s governor, following their losses in recent battles.
The rebels said that they could target military and security posts inside Nyala but maintained that they will not do so out of fears for civilian safety.
There was no reaction yet to the SLA-MM’s claims from SAF spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad.
A resident speaking to Reuters confirmed fighting in the area.
“The rebels arrived with four cars and attacked the army in an area some 15kms (nine miles) from Nyala where the government presence is weak,” said the resident, who declined to be named.
This month, South Darfur officials spoke of ongoing fighting with rebels in Oum-Gounga, which lies south of Nyala, but asserted that SAF had the upper hand.
However, multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that SAF had suffered heavy losses in the battles, with rebels managing to seize a number of army vehicles.