Leading Sudan rebel killed in attack

Sunday, January 11, 2004< /FONT>

Sudan's military was said to have killed a leading rebel in the Darfour province.

The commander of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, Abdullah Abkar, could be a significant development in Sudan's military offensive to end the rebellion in Darfour. Over the last month, Sudan's military has poured troops and government militia forces in Darfour to roll back the gains of the SLM/A over the past year.

Rebel sources said Abkar was killed on Wednesday in a Sudanese helicopter attack in the Abu Qamra region. They said Sudanese Mi-24 attack helicopters fired rockets toward rebel-held villages in Darfour.

The Sudanese military has reported the death of Abkar, who also directed ceasefire negotiations with Khartoum during 2003, Middle East Newsline reported. The military said Abkar, another senior commander and 130 rebels were killed in a two-day battle to dislodge the SLM/A from Abu Qamra. Sudanese government forces were also said to have captured six rebel vehicles loaded with weapons and explosives.

Khartoum has accused Chad and the southern-based Sudanese People's Liberation Movement of supporting the Darfour rebels. SPLM chief John Garang has offered to mediate an end to the Darfour conflict.

For its part, the SLM/A has dismissed the prospect that the death of Abkar has jeopardized rebel gains. Abkar, who arrived in Darfour from Chad in the early 1990s, led several military successes against Sudanese forces over the last year, including an operation in Fasher in April 2003.

The rebel group said its leadership appointed Ahmed Adam Abu Shanab as the successor to Abkar. The appointment came as the SLM/A launched an attack on Umm Katkout near the city of Um Kadada, a base of government militia forces. A government statement said the rebel drive failed.

Sudan's military has launched a widescale attack in several areas of northern and southern Darfour and rebel sources said about 200 people were killed in a military attack last week on the village of Sora in the Darfour region. The military was said to have employed Soviet-origin helicopters and fixed-wing Antonov air transports in attacks on rebel positions.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts
Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives

See current edition of

Return to World Front Cover