SUDAN WATCH: JEM takes Sudan army base in Umm Baru nr Chadian border in North Darfur

Monday, May 25, 2009

JEM takes Sudan army base in Umm Baru nr Chadian border in North Darfur

According to the following report from Reuters, it would appear that JEM, using mortars and heavy guns, have seized a Sudan army base in Umm Baru near the Chadian border in North Darfur. It is the second army base JEM has taken in the area in just over a week. The governor of North Darfur has accused Chad of sending troops to fight alongside JEM during the battle, which he said the Sudanese government forces won.

Note, the report highlights the fact that JEM seeks to control all of Darfur and neighboring Kordofan.

Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?

A BBC report yesterday [Raiders 'seize Sudan army base'] says the reported fall of the Umm Baru base comes as a fresh round of peace talks between Sudan and Jem is due to begin on Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.

Reuters report, 24 May 2009, by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum - excerpt:
Darfur fighters take Sudan army base: peacekeepers
Armed raiders using mortars and heavy guns seized a Sudanese army base near the Chad border in Darfur on Sunday, the second to have fallen in just over a week, international peacekeepers said.

The joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said it could not confirm the identity of those who attacked the base at Umm Baru but suspected the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that has been active in the area in recent months.

"Umm Baru was overrun. It has fallen," said UNAMID information director Kemal Saiki. "Our own base just a few kilometers away heard the heavy gunfire." Saiki said the attack started at around 4pm (1300 GMT) and ended around 8.30pm.

Any JEM involvement would heighten already deeply troubled relations between Sudan and Chad, as Khartoum accuses the N'Djamena government of backing the insurgent force.

It would also be the second army base JEM has taken in the area in just over a week, marking an escalation in the recent conflict.

There was no one immediately available to comment on the fighting from JEM or Sudan's armed forces.

Tensions have been building along Sudan's remote border with Chad for weeks.

The two oil producers have long accused one another of supporting each other's rebels. Chad earlier this month admitted bombing rebels inside Sudanese territory, while Khartoum says N'Djamena backs JEM, whose leaders have ethnic links with Chadian President Idriss Deby.

JEM said it seized a Sudanese army base at Kornoi, a settlement just 50 km (31 miles) west of Umm Baru, on May 16, along a road that runs toward a crossing point into Chad.

The governor of North Darfur later accused Chad of sending troops to fight alongside JEM during the battle, which he said the Sudanese government forces won.

There have been signs of JEM re-arming and re-grouping in North Darfur in recent weeks -- it fought former rebels aligned with Sudan's government around Umm Baru earlier this month.

JEM, which seeks to control all of Darfur and neighboring Kordofan, shocked many by attacking Khartoum in May 2008 before being stopped a few kilometers short of the presidential palace.

JEM commander Suleiman Sandal told Reuters earlier on Sunday that Sudanese government planes had been bombing around Kornoi and Umm Baru every day since his force's attack on Kornoi. [...]

In many places, fighting has descended into a free-for-all of tribal clashes and banditry.

Armed men stopped a vehicle carrying Nigerian peacekeepers near El Geneina, capital of west Darfur, on Saturday night, and stole their weapons, phones, radio and transport, the joint U.N./African Union force said. No one was injured in the attack.

The U.N.'s World Food Program said a contract driver was shot dead by suspected robbers in Al Deain in South Darfur on Tuesday. [...] (Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
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Report from China View, 25 May 2009:
Sudanese army defeats attack of rebel militants in Darfur
KHARTOUM, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) announced that they had managed to defeat an attack launched by militants of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) at the restive western Sudanese region of Darfur on Sunday.

SAF spokesman Osman Mohammed al-Aghbash told the Sudanese Media Center that the army troops routed the attack at the Umm Baru areain North Darfur by a large military force of the rebel JEM backed by the Chadian army.

The spokesman added that the army troops caused the rebel group a heavy toll in lives and property, which were being accounted.

Meanwhile, the hybrid peacekeeping force of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur said armed raiders using mortars and heavy guns seized a Sudanese army base at Umm Baru near the Chad border in Darfur on Sunday, the second to have fallen in just over a week.

Tensions have been building along Sudan's remote border with Chad for weeks, causing concerns of neighboring countries and other countries in the region.

JEM said it seized a Sudanese army base at Kornoi, a settlement just 50 km west of Umm Baru, on May 16, along a road that runs towards a crossing point into Chad. Editor: Mu Xuequan
Sudan map showing January 1, 1956 Line of Demarcation

Maps from Sudan Watch archives. Also, see:

Dec. 7, 2008: Sudan’s South Kordofan the next Darfur?

Nov. 21, 2006: PINR - Intelligence Brief: Rebels Advance on the Central African Republic. Copy:
Just in from Adam Wolf, editor for PINR's Africa region: PINR - Intelligence Brief: Rebels Advance on the Central African Republic. Excerpt:
"As long as the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region continues unresolved, Khartoum's lack of oversight in the area provides a rear base for both Chadian and C.A.R. insurgents that are seeking to gain control of their respective countries. More concerning, however, is the risk of a regional war should troops from either Chad or C.A.R. support attacks on Sudanese territory."
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UPDATE Monday 25 May 2009:
Peacekeepers say Darfur rebels repulsed at base
Mon May 25, 2009 KHARTOUM (Reuters) - excerpt: Rebel fighters failed to capture a Sudanese army base in Darfur, International peacekeepers said Monday, contradicting earlier reports of an insurgent victory.

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