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Darfur holdout group says control entire North Darfur region

July 23, 2006 (ASMARA) — The Newly formed Darfur rebel group said they control entirely the region of northern Darfur. The group stated that there is no more presence of the forces of the Minawi group which signed a peace deal with Khartoum.

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Khalil Ibrahim

The National Redemption Front (NRF) declared that the State of North Darfur is now entirely clear of any forces belonging to Minni Minawi, the signatory to the Abuja Agreement, DPA in last May.

Three Darfur rebel groups that have refused to sign up to an African Union-mediated peace deal for the troubled western Sudanese region formed a new alliance to fight Khartoum on 30 June.

The front is made up of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a holdout faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance (SFDA), according to a "founding declaration" released in Asmara.

But Minni Minawi the leader of one of the SPLM groups, denied the NRF statement. Minawi said Khalil has been, during the last four years, alleging that his troops were controlling regions in Darfur, but that was not true.

"I believe Dr Khalil’s statements would be like his previous ones" he added.

Khalil Ibrahim, a member of the NRF Leadership Authority and President of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said that the NRF had to repel continuous attacks by “Minawi’s forces and his Janjaweed and government allies”.

“The mission is now accomplished leaving the NRF in full control of the entire State of North Darfur. Minawi’s forces have been driven out of Forawya, Umbaru, Kornoi, Bir Mazza, Amo, Khazzan Abu Gimra, Muzbad, Amarai, Kutum, Seyah and Atroon areas. 200 fighters have deserted Minawi and joined the NRF while another 84 soldiers taken as war prisoners”.

A large number of vehicles and substantial amount of military hardware have been seized by NRF. Materials seized include documents relating to arms received by Minawi’s forces from Khartoum government, said the NRF press release

Ibrahim stated that “Minawi’s weight in the Darfur Military Equation now equals zero”. “He can no longer deceive the world as he once did”.

The statement invited the UN and the African Union to verify their entire control of the region.

“The UN Envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk and Representatives of the AU are cordially invited to visit NRF sites in the specified areas and review the “DPA” in accordance with these new realities”.

(ST)