Sudan troops battle rebels in war-torn South Kordofan

Khartoum – The Sudanese military has been battling insurgents for control of parts of the conflict-stricken South Kordofan region, both sides said, giving conflicting reports of the situation there.

The fighting comes as Khartoum presses its latest offensive in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas and the western region of Darfur to try to end the conflicts wracking its peripheries.

The army said on Monday its troops had “defeated the remnants of the insurgents” from the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army-North northeast of South Kordofan state capital Kadugli on the road leading to the Umm Serdiba area.

Military spokesperson Colonel Al-Sawarmy Khaled Saad said the army had “inflicted heavy losses on the rebels in life and equipment,” without specifying when the fighting had taken place.

He said the army had suffered some casualties but gave no details.

But in a statement released late Sunday, the SPLM-N said its fighters had repulsed the “biggest advances of the regime’s militias” in Um Serdiba and several other areas in South Kordofan over the past week.

The SPLM-N said it had lost one soldier with nine others wounded, saying 20 government troops were killed.

Marginalisation

Fighting erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in 2011 when former rebels from the SPLA-N took up arms against Khartoum, complaining of marginalisation by Sudan’s Arab-dominated government.

Khartoum has also been battling an insurgency in the western region of Darfur since 2003 and fighting in North Darfur state has intensified in recent weeks as part of the government offensive.

Army spokesperson Saad said his forces had on Monday driven rebels out of the Abu Laha area from where “the rebel movements used to direct their operations” in the surrounding villages and towns, without giving details of casualties.

It was not immediately possible to reach the insurgent groups in the area for comment.

In more than a decade of fighting in Darfur, the UN says more than 300 000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in the region.

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