Sudan: Two battles waged in North Darfur

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Sudan government convoys clashed with the Joint Alliance for Resistance Forces on Friday and Sunday in battles involving scores of Land Cruisers and tanks. The rebel resistance -- which included the factions of Khalil, Minawi, Abdelwahid and Karbino -- claimed to have captured two tanks and shot down a helicopter. The international mediator of the conflict, Djibril Bassolé, has called on the factions to sign a cease-fire agreement in Doha.

Justice and Equality rebels announce names of 19 war prisoners On Friday fierce fighting broke out in Mithbat in North Darfur. A mechanized army force backed by military planes attacked into the northern Darfur region as citizens sheltered in mountains and valleys in order to avoid potential attacks. According to Abu-Bakr Hamid, the secretary of organization and management of the Justice and Equality Movement, the rebels were able to defeat the government forces, which consisted of 200 Land Cruisers and 8 tanks. He noted that a large number of government soldiers were captured, along with many military vehicles. The other soldiers fled.

The army spokesman could not be reached by Radio Dabanga to obtain comment.

Abu-Bakr Hamid also said Friday that they were preparing for another clash with the army forces that moved from Karari towards Wadi Howar and another that moved from Maliha to Alokhayam.

The anticipated fighting in Wadi Howad broke out Sunday less than 72 hours after the first battle. The resistance forces jointly repelled an attack by government forces at 10:30 in the morning in the area where Wadi Abdali joins with the Wadi Howar, in the Sakor Talo mountains range in North Darfur. Abu Bakr confirmed that the government forces, which are known as the Western Movement, came from Tina and Karari to Wadi Howar with the force of 78 cars and 6 tanks. Abu Bakr also said that the resistance forces defeated the government forces and captured a large number of weapons, ammunitions and cars and destroyed two tanks.

Radio Dabanga could not contact the Army for comment. Rebels also claimed to have brought down a military helicopter during the government attacks. They saw the plane with smoke coming out of it as it moved in the direction of the south-west. The rebels claimed the battle of Wadi Howar involved 9 aircraft: 3 helicopters, 2 Antonov planes, 2 gliders and 2 MiG planes, which were bombing from 10:00 in the morning till 4:30 local time.

In another region of Darfur, witnesses of Zamzam camp for displaced persons near El Fasher told Radio Dabanga that they heard the sound of explosions resulting from air strikes on the outskirts of Shangil Tobaya on Saturday. The sounds of explosions were heard from ten o'clock am to one in the afternoon and caused fear and severe panic to the population of the camp. Witnesses also added that after the bombardments, the aircrafts flew over the camp to the El Fasher airport, which on Saturday and Sunday saw intensive military aviation activity.