Conflicting SAF, rebels reports on Sudan’s Blue Nile clashes

KHARTOUM

(

12 Mar

.) -

The origin and outcome of a battle that took place on Sunday between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and a rebel movement in the Blue Nile state remain unclear due to conflicting reports emerging from both sides.

SAF spokesman Colonel Al Sawarmi Khalid Saad said his troops repulsed a rebel offensive in the Surkom area killing 40 rebels. In addition, SAF-soldiers destroyed a tank and two vehicles belonging to the rebels and confiscated “quantities of heavy weapons and ammunition”.

The colonel disclosed that “a number of his soldiers” have also been killed in the battle in which SAF is chased away the “defeated rebels” and thoroughly swept the area.

Meanwhile, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, official spokesman of the Sudan’s People Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) said 16 Sudanese soldiers were killed in the attack in Surkom, including Major Aatif Ahmed Abdullah the commander of the forces.

In addition, 29 SAF-soldiers were wounded and seven Toyota vehicles of the army were destroyed, five of which were “mounted with heavy machine guns”, Lodi said.

According to the rebels' spokesman, the assault "came in retaliation to the summer offensive campaign led by National Congress Party (NCP)” in the Blue Nile state. He claimed the events led to the displacement of more than ten thousand citizens in the last three weeks.

“Half of them arrived in South Sudan as refugees, others [are living] in rivers beds and forests in bad humanitarian conditions”, Lodi said.

Map: Blue Nile state