[dehai-news] (Reuters): Sudan army bombs Darfur rebels

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Jan 14 2009 - 12:17:40 EST

Sudan army bombs Darfur rebels

Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:48am EST

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - <http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/sudan>
Sudan's army said on Wednesday it had bombed rebel positions in Darfur, a
rare admission of air attacks in the western region.

Tension is growing in Darfur ahead of an expected ruling within weeks by the
International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant against
<http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/sudan> Sudan's President Omar
Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes in the region.

A statement said planes bombed near Muhajiriya in south Darfur, targeting
rebels who had rejected a 2006 peace agreement and the unconditional
ceasefire declared by Bashir last year.

"The <http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/sudan> Sudanese army has
bombed this area to protect the Sudanese civilians living in this area," a
spokesman said.

No one was immediately available from
<http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/sudan> Sudan's government to
comment on whether the attacks broke the ceasefire or other agreements.
Bombing is forbidden under terms of the 2006 deal and U.N. Security Council

A commander of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said the
bombing took place on Tuesday. "They know our troops are moving in the
area," said Suleiman Sandal, adding that he had no reports of casualties.

Both the government and rebels are preparing for more fighting if the global
court issues a warrant for Bashir at the request of the court's prosecutor.
He would be the first sitting head of state to be pursued by the court.

Officials from the joint U.N./African Union peacekeeping force confirmed the
bombing on Tuesday and said they also had evidence that two people were
wounded in bombing elsewhere in south
<http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/sudan> Sudan on Saturday.

The rebels also accuse the army of bombing in North Darfur.

JEM chief negotiator Ahmed Tugud told Reuters there was evidence government
troops had been re-arming militias and had succeeded in persuading some
other rebel factions to join Khartoum in recent weeks.

Peace efforts in Darfur have faltered and rebel groups are increasingly
fragmented. International experts say almost six years of fighting in Darfur
has killed 200,000 and driven 2.5 million from their homes. Khartoum says
10,000 have died.

(Additional reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)


C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved



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