Sudan: new escalation in war for Darfur

Nearly 400 have been killed in recent clashes between the Sudanese army and Darfur’s main rebel group, according to Sudanese state media. Most of the casualties were members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). UN peacekeepers in Darfur confirmed that there were at least two major clashes between the two sides. Gen. Al-Tayeb al-Musbah, of the Sudanese army, told the state-run Suna news agency that the army destroyed “scores of JEM vehicles” during the fighting.

But a JEM spokesman denied claims of massive casualties, insisting that rebels had killed scores of government troops. Tahir El Fakir, speaker of the JEM’s rebel legislative assembly, told AlJazeera from London that JEM killed two army commanders and that the rest were militia allied to the military: “It’s a ridiculous claim for the defeated to come up with such allegations. On the contrary, the Sudan armed forces and its militias have been summarily defeated. JEM lost only two and six injured.”

He called the fighting “an escalation of what has been going on—that the Sudan government is going only for a military solution.” He added: “What we want is a peaceful solution.” Violence has been increasing in Darfur in recent months. The UN said that nearly 600 people were killed in the region in May, making it the bloodiest month in Darfur in nearly two years. Peace talks between JEM and the government were suspended in May. (AlJazeera, July 17)

See our last post on Sudan and Darfur.

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