The political fallout from an attack by the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces 300 miles from the capital Khartoum is increasing. The attack on Umm Ruwaba took place last Saturday.
Several political factions in Sudan have expressed their anger at the apparent inaction of the Sudanese army in the face of the attack. This, they claim, has enabled the SRF militias, an alliance of four rebel groups, to reach as far as the centre of the state of North Kordofan in one of their boldest strikes in years.
Many Arabic and international institutions denounced the attack, which they said threatens the peaceful settlement in the South and West of the country. The Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood called for Sudan's official army to use all its resources to impose security on the region and protect Sudanese citizens.
The Brotherhood insisted on the importance of speeding-up the national dialogue that will lead the country out of the current bleak situation. It accused regional and international parties of being involved in pushing Sudan towards the brink of serious internal conflict.
The SRF attack took place just hours after the failure of a round of mediated negotiations in Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement-North. The talks were sponsored by the African Union.
About 40 armoured military vehicles took part in the attack, which was the largest in Sudan since the fighting in Darfur State. Umm Ruwaba has never been attacked by any of the rebels before.
Analysts believe that this is an attempt by the rebels to flare-up the conflict in the heart of Sudan to thwart the efforts of the government as it tries to deal with the resultant chaos. Ten people, including seven police officers, were killed in Saturday's attack, according to the state-run media.
The conflict between the Sudanese government and Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement-North broke out in the summer of 2011. According to the New York Times, most of the rebels of this movement, which used to fight alongside the South Sudanese rebels before South Sudan gained its independence two years ago, come from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State in Sudan. Most of the rebels of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front are from the states of Darfur, South Kurdofan and Blue Nile.
Media reports say that the next round of talks between the government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement-North is scheduled for next month.