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Friday, August 15, 2008

Sudan begins new 'massive' offensive in Darfour

CAIRO — Sudan has launched a new military offensive in the war-torn Darfour region despite increasing international pressure.

The Sudanese military began a ground attack on rebel groups in northern Darfour. The attack has focused on Wadi Atron near the Libyan border.

"They attacked our areas in Wadi Atron with a massive force," Sudan Liberation Army spokesman Al Sayid Sharif said. "We consider this a new declaration of war."

Rebel sources said the Sudanese offensive began on Aug. 12 with more than 200 armored vehicles. They said the military seized border areas long under rebel control.

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Sudan has acknowledged the offensive. The military, however, refused to elaborate.

Rebel groups said Khartoum's military campaign appeared to mark an effort to alter the balance of power in Darfour. They said the military wanted to block the flow of weapons and other aid to rebels by neighboring Libya.

In 2008, Sudan was said to have received 12 MiG-29 fighter-jets from Russia. Moscow has denied the reported transfer.

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