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Sudan’s RSF pledges to liberate rebel stronghold in South Kordofan

June 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has pledged to continue its military operations in South Kordofan despite the rainy season, vowing to take back the rebel stronghold of Kauda.

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RSF forces stand around a damaged vehicle after recapturing the Daldako area, east of Kadugli on 20 May 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

RSF spokesperson, Mohamed al-Nazir Abakar, told the government-sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) website that the beginning of the rainy season will not prevent them from moving forward to liberate Kauda.

He said that rebels have to choose between peace or death at the hands of the RSF, stressing that military operations will not stop unless they receive instructions from their command to give peace a chance.

Abakar noted the repulse of the rebel attempt to recapture Alatmur underscores their poor morale, describing the RSF as the “heavy hand” that could defeat all rebel groups.

The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.

The militia was activated and restructured again in August last year under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

On Monday, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) said it repulsed a rebel attempt to recapture Alatmur, a strategic town leading to the headquarters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan.

SAF spokesperson, al-Sawarmi Khaled Sa’ad said the SPLM-N fighters launched a “suicide attack” on Alatmur but “the armed forces managed to disperse them and killed one hundred and ten rebels, “while the rest of the assailants fled the battlefield , leaving behind a large number of military hardware”.

The eastern South Kordofan town is located 93 kilometres from Kauda, a stronghold rebel town where are the military and political headquarters of the SPLM-N.

The regular army backed by the RSF militia seized Alatmur on 6 June, after the capture of Dalko, another town in the eastern part of South Kordofan on 20 May.

SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said their forces now “partially control” Alatmur, adding the fighting will “continue until the liberation of Alatmur and Alhamra and advancing into Kadugli city”.

He added they inflicted heavy losses among SAF forces and only lost three fighters. While Khaled said four soldiers were killed during the rebel attack.

The two warring parties failed to conclude a framework agreement before to engage in talks to settle the three-year-old conflict. Also, the government intensified attacks on the rebels and mobilized important number of troops and militiamen in a military campaign called “Decisive Summer”.

UNOCHA said in its weekly bulletin that reports from the troubled state indicate that fighting between the government forces and rebel fighters continue to affect civilians there, adding that “the SPLM-N areas in South Kordofan are experiencing the highest (emergency) levels of food insecurity in Sudan”.

The UN agency further said more civilians fled the rebel held areas and sought shelter in the government controlled areas.

“In total, 13,000 people have fled fighting in SPLM-N areas” in South Kordofan over the past few weeks, according to HAC and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

(ST)