Govt Soldiers Killed in Darfur Clashes

Fresh clashes that broke out on Tuesday in Central Darfur between the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) left 39 government soldiers dead, the rebels allege.

The battle took place in the area of Carmel, east of Golo, and the SLM-AW declared to have defeated the Sudanese army, their military spokesman Mustafa Tambour was quoted as saying.

He told Radio Dabanga the movement also captured two Land Cruisers loaded with weapons and destroyed five others, all of which belonged to the government.

SAF forces reportedly fled to their military base in Rockero.

Tuesday's clashes were in response to an attack carried out by government forces against civilians who had their village of Kironga in West Jebel Marra "burned down".

At least 11.000 people were displaced from West Jebel Marra, namely from the villages of Suronok, Jildu and Barzani because of the latest attacks by the government, SLM-AW says.

The rebels suggested that recent aerial bombardments in the region were "far-reaching" and that the conditions of the civilians who fled are "worsening".

30.000 displaced

Fighting in the West Jebel Marra region of Central Darfur reportedly broke out on 23 December, when the SLM-AW claimed to have captured the Jildu garrison, leaving the government with only two strongholds in the area.

Jildu is an important junction that connects East and West Jebel Marra (prized for its fertile land), located near the central town of Golo.

Last month the UN estimated that more than 30.000 people had fled their homes since the fighting erupted.

The SLM-AW on 6 February said it captured a military base in Derbat, West Jebel Marra, and withdrew from its military base in Golo, following seniors' orders to transfer the battle from Darfur to Khartoum.

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