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Wednesday, June 23, 2010     GET REAL

Sudan claims gains in new Darfour fighting

CAIRO — Heavy fighting has erupted between rebels and the Sudanese military in the western province of Darfour.


The Sudanese Army reported a military offensive in Darfour and said rebels sustained heavy casualties. An Army spokesman said up to 150 people have been killed or injured in the fighting, particularly with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement.

"The fighting has taken place in Azban, and there are large numbers of dead and wounded," Army spokesman Khalid Saad said on June 22.

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The military described what appeared to mark the most intense clashes in Darfour in 2010. Saad said 43 rebels and seven soldiers were killed. Another 90 rebels and 11 soldiers were also said to have been injured.

[On June 22, the Republic of Cyprus reported the seizure of a ship full of military platforms and weapons destined for Sudan. The Antigua-flagged ship was seized after it docked at the Cypriot port of Limassol for refueling. Sudan has been under an arms embargo imposed by the European Union and United Nations.]

JEM was said to have sustained heavy losses in material. Saad said the Sudanese Army destroyed 23 rebel combat vehicles and seized another five. Saad also reported the capture of three artillery guns operated by JEM.

Over the last two weeks, the Sudanese Army, backed by fighter-jets, has been attacking rebel strongholds throughout Darfour. Officials said the Sudanese troops have gained control over most of the strongholds and were deployed along the major roads in the province.

For its part, JEM has reported a victory over the Sudanese Army. JEM commander Ali Al Wafi Bashar released a statement that reported the rebel destruction of two Army armored units and the capture of artillery and other weapons.

"JEM intends to attack Sudanese military positions regardless of their location and urges civilians to stay away from these areas," Bashar said.

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