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Sudanese army says in control of northern areas of Jebel Marra

March 1, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese army on Tuesday said its troops are now in control of all areas north of Jebel Marra, where there were fierce battles between the army and the fighters of Sudan Liberation Movement -Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW).

SLM-AW rebels look on during a visit by former joint special representative Ibrahim Gambari to West Darfur’s Fanga Suk village in East Jebel Marra on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

The semi-official Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) which is sponsored by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) recently leaked reports saying the rebels have admitted their defeat in internal meetings. But there is no official statement from the group.

Colonel al-Nur Ahmed al-Gobba Tuesday told Ashorooq TV that his forces are in full control of areas located north of Jebel Marra after the capture of Fanga area last year.

"The security situation in Jebel Marra is quite stable after the control of strategic area of Fanaga, which was a rebel stronghold and the base for their military operations in Darfur" al-Gobba said in an interview with the TV team from Fanga.

The colonel further said the weakness of insurgency after the capture of this area (Fanga) paved the way for the recapture of many important areas in northern Jebel Marra.

In January 2015, the Sudanese army managed to recapture Fanga which was under the control SLM-AW and SLM- Minni Minnawi fighters since the start of the conflict in 2003. At the time, Minnawi group admitted the death of its commander Mohamed Hari in this battle.

Al-Gobba said that life returned to normal in Fanga area, adding that the armed forces will work to secure all areas for the return of all civilians to their abandoned villages.

The massif of Jebel Marra which lies in the centre of Darfur region, straddles the state of Central, South and North Darfur. Its difficult mountainous terrain allowed the rebels to carry out attacks in the three states and at the same time complicated the government efforts to stop their actions.

Intense fighting has been going on since mid-January between the Sudanese army and the SLM-AW in areas around Jebel Marra. The Government said determined to quell rebel attacks on its military and commercial convoys.

UN agencies estimate that the fighting displaced over 90,000 people but Khartoum rejects this figure saying their number reached 73.000 and most of them have returned to their original villages following the end of the military operations.