Sudan’s army on Saturday said it had captured a strategic base held by JEM, Darfur’s most militarily powerful rebel group. The army stated it killed 108 insurgents in the battle at the rebel stronghold at Jebel Moon in West Darfur near the border with Chad. The army also claimed that it captured 61 rebel fighters. Lieutenant Colonel Al Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, the official spokesman, claimed that the armed forces furthermore destroyed 18 Land Cruisers and seized 8, as well as some trucks and armaments. JEM denied the report saying it left the area days earlier. The rebel group’s chairman had explained to Radio Dabanga in an interview before the Saturday fighting that the movement dispersed its forces across Darfur and the neighboring state of South Kordofan.
The army stated that it attacked Jebel Moon in response to the breach of the ceasefire agreement signed by the rebel movement in Doha last February. For the rebels, spokesman Ahmed Hassan Adam, said that the army’s statement was designed to divert attention from the defeats suffered by government forces in the battle of Sania Afundu, which was fought last Thursday between Nyala and Ed Daein. A police spokesman, Lieutenant General Mohamed Abdul Magid, admitted that 27 police officers were killed in that fighting when JEM attacked a police convoy on the highway. He said also that 30 rebels were killed. JEM forces claimed having captured about five trucks carrying petrol. Radio Dabanga had initially reported the number of dead policemen to be about 20.