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Sudan prepares to attack SPLM-N’s stronghold positions in Blue Nile - group

September 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Washington-based Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) said today that the Sudanese army is massing heavily equipped troops to attack rebel positions in Blue Nile state.

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Images by the SSP showing Sudanese troops in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan

Sudanese president last July refused to engage talks with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) saying they have to disarm first and negotiate directly with the government without a foreign mediator.

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF); which has been fighting the SPLM-N in Blue Nile state since September 1, said it controls the whole state except Kurmuk, the SPLM-N’s stronghold town near the Ethiopian border.

According to the SSP, Satellite images taken on 21 September reveal that 3000 SAF troops equipped with battle tanks, towed artillery, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and troop transports, are 64 kilometers from Kurmuk.

The Sudanese troops are "apparently accompanied by half a dozen Hind attack helicopters," the satellite monitoring group adds in today’s statement.

The commander of the SAF fourth infantry division in al-Damazin, Yahia Mohamed Khair on Friday inspected the front lines of the army. The general who was the Blue Nile military governor said he is determined to win the battle and clear the state of SPLM-N rebels.

The army also orchestrated a rally in the state capital on Thursday with tanks and vehicles captured during the recent fighting with the SPLM-N troops in Dandro, located 100 km away to the south of al-Damazin.

There are no perspective for political talks between the two parties as the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zinawi filed a proposal for the two parties told hold direct talks in Addis Ababa and to reinstate the governor of Blue Nile state in his position.

In a testimony delivered at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Thursday, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman urged the US Congressmen to push for the imposition of a no-fly-zone in the Blue Nile Darfur and South Kordofan.

The measure implies the green light of the UN Security Council. But first efforts also needed to convince the Obama Administration to support the a no-fly-zone.

Obama’s special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman rejected idea saying it would lead to large military confrontation and affect more civilians in the troubled regions of Sudan.

(ST)