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Sudanese army parade in South Kordofan’s capital

October 12, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese regular and paramilitary forces Friday staged a military parade in Kadugli, capital of the troubled South Kordfan State in a show of force, days after a rebel mortar attack on the town.

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A file picture showing members of the Popular Defence Forces (AFP)

The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) shelled Kadugli on Monday and Tuesday. They said that the attack was part of a new tactic aiming to export the war to the government controlled areas and to stop the continued air raids of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

However, the sporadic shelling, which hit different parts of the town, are reported to have killed six civilians and wounded some 23 people.

The artillery and tanks of the Sudan Armed Forces, police members, and the militia of Popular Defence Forces (PDF) paraded in the streets of Kadugli while military helicopters simultaneously flew over the town on Friday.

Speaking to the troops participating in the parade, South Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun, said they extend their hands to those who want peace but are also ready for war with anyone attack them.

The Governor also repeated that the SPLM-N shelled the town because of a consultative conference for peace in South Kordofan organised in Kadugli on 8 and 9 October .

"SPLM-Northern sector wanted to send a message saying ’We are here’; but unfortunately this message came on the bodies of women and children," he said.

The SPLM-N deny the shells were targeting the conference.

In an interview with a private Sudanese TV channel Ashorooq on Thursday, Haroun said the attack did not affect the activities of the town’s residents.

He added that the SPLM-N, after Sudan’s signing of cooperation deals with the South Sudan, "became an orphan" who faces unknown destiny stressing they wanted through the attack to send a message without a future.

He went further to say that the SPLM-N has no other choice but to sit on the negotiating table with the government.

Khartoum says the SPLM-N have first to disarm before the governing National Congress Party will discuss and negotiate over the unimplemented issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement related to the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The African Union mediation failed to organise direct talks between the sides because the SPLM-N demand that any future talks are a comprehensive process including the three Darfur rebels with whom the SPLM-N formed an alliance with last year.