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Rebel leader claims Sudan planning to use chemical weapons against his forces

May 21, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese government is getting ready to deploy chemical weapons to use against insurgents in the ongoing battles in North Kordofan, a rebel leader said.

Minni Minnawi (file/ AFP)

Minni Minnawi, leader of a Sudan Liberation Movement faction (SLM-MM) claimed in a statement today conveyed through one of his aides that the Sudanese army wants to resort to this lethal method as it has failed to flush out rebel forces in Jebel al-Dayer area.

He said that due to the geographical nature of the area, Sudanese ground troops are unable to effectively mount an attack against his forces and that even the use of fighter jets have proved ineffective.

This month the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) of which SLM-MM is a member claimed to have taken control of Jebel al-Dayer. This was the latest in a string of attacks launched by the rebels since late April in north and south Kordofan states.

Khartoum has declared a general state of mobilization to “crush” the rebels for good and expel them from areas they captured including Abu-Kershola in South Kordofan.

Around the same time, SRF briefly occupied North Kordofan’s second largest town of Um Rawaba which causing an alarm within government ranks as this is considered a new territory in the rebels’ reach which in the past has been confined to Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

SRF has vowed to continue its offensive until it reached Khartoum to unseat the government of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who has been in power since 1989.

However, few expect the rebels to have the ability to follow through on its threat.

The Sudanese government accused Juba of backing the recent rebel offensive and dispatched two senior officials last week for talks with South Sudan leader Salva Kiir on this issue.

The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti told reporters afterwards said he received assurances that SRF would receive no support from Juba.

(ST)