The scope of military operations in Darfur expanded yesterday, Thursday, in areas east of the Jebel Marra mountains and in the east of Darfur, with fierce battles between government troops and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the rebels announced yesterday. The JEM rebels said that they fought with mobile forces of the Sudanese army in the region of ‘Uzban Duma in eastern Darfur. JEM ended up destroying the government’s mobile forces and forcing them to flee to the area of Taweisha, top JEM commander Suleiman Sandal told Radio Dabanga. He said that the movement’s forces captured 32 vehicles and 15 Dushka cannons, in addition to other weapons and medical equipment. Radio Dabanga was unable to contact the army to comment on this news.
Meanwhile, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdul Wahid Nur (SLM/A-AW) announced that since several days ago it has been fighting with Sudan’s armed forces sporadically east and southeast of Jebel Marra. Nimr Abdelrahman, the SLA-AW military spokesman, accused the government forces of firing on areas inhabited by civilians, killing three civilians on Thursday east of Jebel Marra. He said that the government offensive has caused the flight of hundreds of civilians. Radio Dabanga was unable to contact the army to comment on this news.
A source in Nyala estimated Wednesday that 160 wounded government soldiers arrived at hospitals in Nyala for medical treatment. As to rebel casualties, there was no independent verification. Fighting appears to continue to intensify as JEM and SLM-AW maintain their refusal to negotiate with the government. JEM, considered the most militarily powerful rebel movement, was previously supplied by the government of Chad, and is primarily a mechanized force. SLA-AW is primarily an infantry force with its stronghold in the mountainous central region of Darfur.
(Photo: JEM vehicles captured by Sudan’s armed forces after the battle of Omdurman in May 2008)