Home | News    Tuesday 29 July 2003

Government accuses rebel leader of being behind war in western Sudan


KHARTOUM, Sudan, Jul 29, 2003 (AP) — Sudan’s first vice president on Tuesday accused southern rebel leader John Garang of spearheading the current unrest in Western Sudan and said the rebels would not be able to score any victory by force.

Garang heads the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army. In Darfur, western Sudan, a little-known rebel group called the Sudan Liberation Army has sprung up, targeting army and government targets in recent months.

"What is currently happening in Darfur is another chapter led by John Garang after he has been encircled and besieged by the peace process in the south," Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha said in a speech in Western Sudan’s capital of Al-Fashir.

The Darfur rebels are demanding that the government develop and grant large amounts of aid to Darfur, a long-neglected region that is often struck by severe drought.

"What is going on in Darfur is a war by proxy," Taha said in the speech broadcast by national Radio Omdurman.

Mediation to end the insurgency, which has claimed hundreds of lives, has failed.

Sudan is wracked by civil conflicts in other parts of the country, particularly the south, where government forces have been clashing with rebels since 1983. That conflict has left more than 2 million people dead through fighting and related famine.

Talks to end the civil war were renewed last year but have repeatedly stalled.

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