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President Sudan postpones trip to Darfur after battle with rebels

March 5 - 2013 KHARTOUM

President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan has postponed his trip to North Darfur after severe clashes between the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Wad Bahr, a village on the border of Darfur and North Kordofan.

President Omar al-Bashir was scheduled to travel to El Fasher, Atina and Al Tiwaisha tomorrow Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March. According to the governor of North Darfur, Osman Kibir, the president has 'not canceled the trip', but the president has 'postponed his visit though a new date has not been set'. In the past days the SAF-troops to protect president while visiting Al Tiwaisha have been fiercely attacked by a faction of the SRF-rebels. SAF-spokesman Colonel Sawarmi Khalid Saad stated that the rebels were ambushed at the Wad Bahr village in Wad Banda locality in North Kordofan. He added the group fled to North Darfur after suffering heavy losses in terms of lives and equipments.

However, the JEM confirmed it has clashed with the army near Wad Banda, noting the “enemies” were on their way to enforce security in preparation to President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Al-Tiwaisha in North Darfur this week. “Our army summarily defeated the enemy force killing 100 soldiers and seizing 25 Land Cruisers, two Ural trucks, two commander tanks and score of weapons,” the movement’s military spokesman Badawi Musa Al-Sakin was quoted by Radio Dabanga. Other sources confirmed that dozens of army officers arrived in Umm Keddada on late Saturday with injured soldiers, two of whom died and were buried later that night.

Not welcome

The president would not have been welcomed in the main refugee camp of El Fasher. The coordinator of North Darfur camps called the visit of Sudan’s president to the state and his scheduled speech inside the Abu Shouk camp “an insult and a provocation”, stressing the displaced are the victims of the 10-year long war in the region. “Killing the victim and walking to his funeral”, Umda Ahmed Ateem told Radio Dabanga when comparing the president’s journey with a common proverb. The factions of Minni Minnawi, Abdel Wahid and the JEM have warned the government not to celebrate 10 years of civil war in Darfur announcing to attack any celebration.

Photo: President Bashir's previous visit to Darfur (File picture)


Displaced: Sudan president speech inside camp 'an insult' (4 March 2013)

JEM denies Sudan army’s claims of battle in N. Kordofan (4 March 2013)

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