April 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Armed forces (SAF) and the rebel force of Sudan Liberation Army loyal to leader Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) clashed on Saturday in the towns of Muhajiriya and Labado in South Darfur leading to scores of deaths from both sides.
- Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi (REUTERS)
Eyewitnesses told said that SLA-MM launched two simultaneous attacks on the two areas on Saturday morning killing and wounding dozens as well as holding a large number of SAF soldiers captives.
Mohamed al-Nur Basit, a residence of Muhajiriya told al-Khartoum newspaper that the SAF commander and the head of National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) with the rank of Second Lieutenant were among the dead.
Fadl Al- Karim Mokhtar, another eyewitness from Labado, which is located 12 kilometers west of Muhajiriya, said that eight SAF soldiers were killed including their commander who had a First Lieutenant rank.
However, Mokhtar was unable to identify deaths among the SLA-MM attacking force.
Both eyewitnesses said that the SLA-MM attack was not only restricted to Muhajiriya and Labado areas but it also extended to Sané Afindo, Seleia, and Tor Taan in addition to Umm Sauna in North Darfur.
Clashes led to an influx of thousands of displaced civilians mostly children and women to the nearby towns of Shiaria and Yassin. Some of the displaced people have resorted to United Nations peacekeeping force (UNAMID) offices in both towns seeking safety.
Several residents contacted by Al- Khartoum newspaper said many houses in Muhajiriya were burnt as a result of the gunfire.
South Darfur has been the scene of heavy fighting between the SAF and SLA-MM forces in recent weeks, with both sides battling to gain control of the state.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conflict in Sudan’s troubled western region, where ongoing violence continues to take a terrible human toll.
The United Nations has estimated that around 300,000 people have died during the conflict in Darfur, while some 2 million people have been displaced. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.