Sudan army says takes rebel town in border state

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s army said it captured a rebel-held town and seized tanks and other military equipment in Blue Nile state on Tuesday, another setback for insurgents in the volatile border region.


Fighting along the border has stoked tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, which seceded in July, and complicated talks over political and economic issues. Both countries say the other backs rebels on either side of the poorly defined border.

Sudan’s military said it had “liberated” Diem Mansour in Blue Nile, about 17 kilometres south of the former Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) stronghold of Kurmuk, which Sudanese forces seized this month.

“The armed forces expelled the remnants of the SPLM from the area of Diem Mansour on Tuesday,” Sudan’s military spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid said in a statement on state news agency SUNA.

A spokesman for the SPLM-N in Blue Nile had his mobile phone switched off.

Khalid said the armed forces killed and wounded a “large number” of rebels and captured tanks and a variety of other weapons in a two-hour battle on Tuesday. He said the military suffered casualties, but did not give details.

South Sudan declared independence in July under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war between north and south. But the division left thousands of fighters who sided with the south on Sudan’s side of the border.

Rebels in the western Darfur region said this month they had formed an alliance with the border state rebels to topple the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum, a move the United Nations condemned as “counterproductive”.

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