Intense fighting erupted late Friday and continued over the weekend between Sudanese government forces and the rebel group the Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) in East and North Darfur, Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) spokesman confirmed Saturday.
In a statement, Ahmed Khalifa El Shami, spokesman for the SAF, said a joint force of army troops and paramilitary members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) “confronted armed groups who simultaneously entered North and East Darfur from Libya and South Sudan to undermine peace and stability in Sudan.”
He also pointed out that clashes continued over the weekend with the rebel groups in what he described as an effort to “disrupt the peace and stability achieved across Sudan and especially in the Dafuri States”.
El Shami also claimed that government forces had inflicted losses on the rebels, saying 25 had been killed and a least 17 had been taken prisoner. He admitted that five government troops were killed and seven others were injured.
However, the military spokesperson of the SLM-MM, Ahmed Hussein Mustafa, said their forces, supported by the SLM Transitional Council, had been attacked inside areas under the movement’s control in North Darfur, describing the attack as a “violation of the ceasefire”.
In a joint statement, contradicting the Sudanese government’s account of the number of deaths and casualties, SLM-MM and the SLM Transitional council said they had killed 214 Sudanese soldiers including the RSF’s deputy commander Hamdan Al-Samih. There has been no independent confirmation of the number of casualties on both sides.
The SLM-MM reported that the attacks took place in the area ”south of the railway in South and East Darfur” and in the area of Baashim in North Darfur’s Kutum. They accused the Sudanese government of launching a renew campaign of violence.
These new operations are part of the plan announced by the government and its militia to displace the people living in this area, with the aim to carry out demographic changes and replacements [of the original inhabitants]
the rebel spokesman said.
The United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the official observer on the ground in the area, has not yet released a statement about the latest renewed clashes.