The Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) claimed the killing of 214 troops of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in East and North Darfur on Saturday. The RSF say they killed the general commander of the rebel movement.
In a press statement on Saturday the SLM-MM reported that government forces attacked rebel convoys in the area “south of the railway in South and East Darfur”, and in the area of Baashim in North Darfur’s Kutum.
Mohamed Hassan, a spokesman for the SLM-MM, told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that the fighting broke out when SLM-MM forces, together with combatants of the SLM faction led by Nimir Abdelrahman, were moving in convoys in East and North Darfur,
“The government RSF militia took advantage of the ceasefire which the movement recently signed unilaterally in the presence of Unamid officials, and intercepted the convoys on Saturday.”
Hassan said that the rebel fighters of the two groups resisted the attacks. “We caused them great losses in lives and equipment. [..] The forces of the two movements managed to kill 214 Rapid Support militiamen, including Brigadier Hamdan El Simeih, tasked with guarding the northern border. Militia leader Ibrahim El Faki was captured. More than 300 wounded militiamen were transferred to the hospitals of El Fasher, Nyala, and the military hospital in Khartoum.”
The rebel spokesman further reported that they lost 15 of their fighters and four vehicles. At least 13 others were injured, and another 18 were taken prisoner. “SLM-MM Commander-in-Chief Juma Mundi went missing. He may have been captured or killed outside the battlefield which then constitutes a war crime.”
Rebel commander killed
The commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan, nicknamed Hemeti, reported the killing of SLM-MM Commander-in-Chief Juma Mundi.
He said that “The Rapid Support Forces, the Sudan Armed Forces, and other security forces have been able to defeat the remnants of the rebels who infiltrated from Libya and South Sudan to North and East Darfur. [..] The enemy has suffered great losses in lives and property, and is still being chased in all directions.”
"Our forces killed Juma Mundi, General Commander of the SLM forces led by Minni Arko Minawi, in addition to a number of others killed or made prisoner. They seized six armoured vehicles and a number of military vehicles. The lists are underway,” the militia commander reported. “The remaining rebels fled to where they came from, to South Sudan and Libya.”
Sudan Vision Daily cites “Informed sources” saying that the rebel combatants coming from South Sudan were driving 63 military vehicles, 45 of which were seized, seven were destroyed, and 11 ones are now being pursued, while the force coming from Libya came aboard 140 vehicles, about 100 of them participated in the fighting, and 50 of them were seized.
The renewed fighting between government forces and rebels on more than one front in Darfur on Saturday triggered widespread reactions in the country and abroad, in particular as the Sudanese government has repeatedly declared that the situation in Darfur has become stable after the armed movements have been annihilated.
“The renewed fighting in Darfur confirmed that the armed conflict is ongoing, contrary to what government circles claim,” Dr Mohamed El Mahdi Hassan, Head of the Political Bureau of the National Umma Party (NUP) commented to Radio Dabanga.
He said that the NUP High Coordination Council will meet on Monday to discuss the developments. “The huge expenses for the war constitute a sensitive issue for the impoverished Sudanese people, as the increased military costs will have a clear impact on their livelihoods. Another important point is that the rebels are not bandits but citizens who have an issue and demands that must be listened to and addressed.”
The Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) as well described the renewed fighting in Darfur as “a confirmation that the war in the region has not yet ended, contrary to what the government has been repeating”.
Khalid Omar, SCP Deputy President told this station that the government has been spreading propaganda about the end of the armed conflicts in Darfur.
“We all know that Khartoum has been lying. The war erupted for obvious and specific reasons, and will not end unless the government addresses the root causes that led to the insurgency.”
He said he does not expect the war to end as long as the grievances have not been addressed.