United Resistance Front (URF) leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda says his senior commander was killed in Janjaweed ambush east of Muhajiriya, South Darfur
Fighters from Darfur's rebel Sudan Liberation Army, and the smaller United Resistance Front, were ambushed as they travelled through open land east of Muhajiriya on Saturday afternoon, said URF leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda.Andrew Heavens is a British journalist based in Khartoum, Sudan and has a blog Meskel Square.
"I lost one senior commander. Ten Janjaweed were killed," he told Reuters, using a commonly used name for government-backed militia in Darfur.
Earlier this week, the Aegis Trust put out a statement warning that Muhajiriya was under imminent threat of attack from a 300-strong Janjaweed militia that had been attacking villages in the surrounding area.
Leaders from two rebel factions said the militias who struck late on Saturday were part of a build-up of fighters around the town of Muhajiriya, a past flashpoint in the Darfur conflict.
But an aid source told Reuters: "The only thing we can say for certain at the moment is that there is a militia in the area, that people have died and buildings in villages have been burned."
UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur confirmed fighting had taken place but said it was unclear who had taken part.
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JEM rebels clash with govt forces nr El Geneina, W Darfur
Sat 11 Oct 2008 Sudan Tribune report - Sudanese army say JEM attacked convoy but rebels deny - copy:
Fri Oct 10 2008 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan accused rebels of killing three of its troops today in western Darfur during an attack against a government convoy, but the rebels reject the accusation saying they repelled the assailant force.
Rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement clashed with a local government convoy escorted with army troops 60 kilometres from the capital of West Darfur state, El Geneina, as it was travelling to Kulbus, the Sudanese army said.
However, Ali Waafi, JEM military spokesperson, said they were attacked by a joint force from the Sudanese army, Janjaweed militias, and the Chadian opposition in Alhilailat, near Kulbus not far from the Chadian border.
“Our forces acted in legitimate self –defense," Waafi said. He further said that Khartoum carries out since two months a military campaign against the rebels in the region.
"We have the right to defend our self, the civilians and the territory that we control" he added. The rebel official said that the Sudanese government is not serious about peace process. Because "they speak about peace on the ground while they are waging war" he stressed.
But the spokesperson of the Sudanese army, Osman Mohamed Al-Aghbash, said that the convoy included the commissioner of the Kulbus region and the state minister of social welfare, Sultan Hashim but the two officials reached Kulbus town save, he added.
Al-Aghbash said the attack was directed against the state minister Hisham by a local JEM commander called Mohamed Adam Galabi. He also said that some of the rebels were injured in an exchange of fire with the convoy but the rebels were able to escape.
He further dismissed media reports that 15 people were killed in the ambush.