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Sudan denies preparations to setup US military base in eastern town

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March 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese official has dismissed as “vicious rumors” media reports on preparations by the United States to setup a military base in Ageeg, a minor port town in eastern Sudan in an effort to thwart arms-smuggling operations across the country’s porous eastern borders.

Eastern Sudan is cited by as a major route for smuggling arms into Gaza strip which is under siege by Israel. This month it was reported that the Egyptian army destroyed seven vehicles carrying arms smuggled through eastern Sudan. In January 2009, Israel conducted an airstrike in eastern Sudan that destroyed a convoy that was believed to be carrying arms to Gaza, killing at least 20 people.

The Sudan Media Center, a website closely linked to the country’s intelligence circles, quoted Ali Saeed Hamid Sukar the mayor of Ageeg locality, a minor port town located to the south of Sudan’s eastern Red Sea state, as saying that his locality was “devoid of any preparations to setup an American military base.”

According to SMC, the report on preparations to build a US military base was contained in Wednesday’s edition of the London-based newspaper which reported that activists in eastern Sudan complained to local authorities against the construction of military bases in the area at a time when they were planning to turn the little port town of Ageed into a major sea port.

But according to Ageeg mayor, the construction work being observed in Ageeg was an attempt to “renovate” barracks of the Sudanese maritime forces in the area.

The Sudanese official said that such reports were “merely vicious rumors propagated by opposition groups in a desperate attempt to torpedo stability in the [Red Sea] state.”

The US along with Israel and Egypt are trying to prevent arms from reaching Gaza strip which is controlled by Hamas Islamic movement.

(ST)

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