April 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Tuesday said it had recaptured the town of Abri in the Kuwalib mountain range in the middle of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state.
- Soldiers from Sudan’s army rest after gaining control of an area in the Blue Nile state capital, al-Damazin, on 5 September 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
SAF’s spokesperson, al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said in a press statement that Abri which is located 150 kilometers northeast of South Kordofan state capital, Kadugli links Kualib Mountains to Kauda, the stronghold of the rebel Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N).
He pointed that SAF inflicted heavy losses in lives and equipment on the SPLM-N rebels, adding that they also liberated Serfaya village in the same area.
The statement accused the SPLM-N of denying residents the basic services and forcing them to join its ranks, saying that SAF lost several martyrs and wounded others.
It underscored that SAF will advance in all battlefronts until bringing rebellion to an end.
Earlier this month, Sudan’s defence minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, told the parliament that the decisive summer military campaign against the rebel SPLM-N in the Nuba Mountain has begun.
The spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating team, Mubarak Ardol, for his part denounced the attack on Abri, accusing the Sudanese army of displacing more than 20,000 people and destroying livelihoods including institutions and water wells.
He accused the government Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of carrying out the attack on Abri, saying it displaced more than 70,000 people and burned dozens of villages within two months in Rashad area in the Nuba Mountain besides torching more than 230 villages in Darfur.
On Saturday, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced that it is deploying additional RSF troops to South Kordofan in order to end rebellion in the state.
The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilised by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.
The militia was activated and restructured again in August last year under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.
Ardol further said the attack comes in a time when the SPLM-N delegation is engaged in peace talks with the government in Addis Ababa, emphasising it reveals the true intentions of the regime and the contradiction between its words and deeds.
However, Sudan’s lead negotiator, Ibrahim Ghandour, said in a press release on Tuesday that the SPLM-N continued to reject the government’s repeated calls for agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire, saying SAF managed to liberate innocent residents in Abri from SPLM-N’s injustice.
He denounced Ardol’s comments on the attack on Abri, saying the SPLM-N attacked Abu-Kershola and Um Rawaba and killed innocent civilians and burned houses while the third round of peace talks was underway in April 2013.
Ghandour underscored that the only alternative is to achieve immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in order to stop the war and end suffering of the innocent civilians, accusing the SPLM-N of rejecting the move in order to serve its political agenda, military alliances, and foreign links.
The South Kordofan conflict erupted in 2011 when Sudan attempted to forcibly disarm SPLM-N fighters it accuses of being backed by their brother-in-arms in the South Sudanese army.