The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) has strongly denied the statements made by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) about being in control of Jebel Marra.
In a statement on Monday SAF spokesman Dr Brig. Ahmed Khalifa El Shami said that the military offensive on the SLM-AW strongholds in Jebel Marra in January resulted in the “purging of 17 rebel sites”.
Shihabeldin Ahmed Haggar, the military spokesman for the SLM-AW, told Radio Dabanga from the area of Kutrum village that “the Sudanese government has involved itself in a losing battle.
“Mount Marra is a fortified stronghold of the movement,” he stressed. “It is impossible for the army and the militias to occupy it.”
“The government forces were defeated, and hundreds of troops were killed. The area of Saboun El Fagur is still under full control of the movement.”
The rebel spokesman added that “the SLM has no military presence in Kalokitting in the south-western part of Mount Marra, especially after the people left the area in 2014. The area of Kutrum is totally abandoned by now. There are also no rebel fighters left.”
He pointed to the absence of any photographs of areas controlled by the army. “The absence of such photos in the official media is indicative of the falsity of the government’s statements about regaining control over Jebel Marra.” He called upon journalists to visit Jebel Marra to verify the situation.
Haggar renewed his movement’s accusations that Khartoum uses the presence of the rebels as a pretext “to remove all inhabitants of Jebel Marra and replace them by new settlers from Niger and Mali”.
He confirmed the continuation of “the indiscriminate aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force on Jebel Marra. Antonovs have been flying above the area and dropping barrel bombs for 27th consecutive days as of today.
“Tens of thousands of people are hiding in the mountains in very harsh conditions. So far, at least 67 children died of exhaustion.”