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Thursday, April 14, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

April offensive reported in Darfour province

CAIRO — Heavy fighting has resumed in Sudan's war-torn Darfour province.


Sudanese rebels said the Sudanese Army has launched an offensive in northern Darfour this month. They reported heavy fighting between the Army and rebel groups that resulted in major gains for forces opposed to the regime of President Omar Bashir.

"Our forces have shot down a combat helicopter," Abu Bakr Hamid, secretary of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, said.

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In a Sudanese radio interview on April 12, Hamid said JEM destroyed 25 armored combat vehicles deployed by the Army. He said four of these were Russian-origin main battle tanks.

JEM also claimed the capture of 50 Sudanese soldiers. No word of casualties was provided by either the rebels or Khartoum.

This year, the Sudanese Army has renewed operations in Darfour in an attempt to prevent the resurgence of the revolt in the western province. The rebels said the Army offensive in Darfour was meant to stop JEM and other rebels from helping the autonomous southern government in operations against Khartoum-backed militias ahead of planned secession in July.

On April 13, the United Nations reported the killing of 800 and displacement of 94,000 in southern Sudan so far in 2011. The UN cited 151 attacks and other violent incidents over the last month.

"We are worried that we have seven militias that are active," UN humanitarian representative in southern Sudan, Lisa Grande, said. "If the security continues to deteriorate as we have seen recently, then we have to expect that we are going to have more people who are going to need emergency aid."

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