SLA-MM ‘in control’ of South Darfur military base -rebels

DONKEY DERESA

(

14 Apr

.) -

A rebel group announced its forces are in “full control” of a military base in South Darfur located in a “strategic region”. They claimed 40 Sudanese soldiers were killed during the takeover.

Sudan Liberation Army -Minni Minawi said the newly-conquered Donkey Deresa area was used as the government’s “eyes and ears” to monitor the movement of rebels groups.

Rebel’s military spokesman Adam Saleh Abkar said the combat occurred on Sunday afternoon, adding that several government troops were captured in the operation.

SLA-MM also seized two vehicles and a large number of weapons belonging to the Sudanese army, Abkar said. He stressed his forces are still “combing the area and the exact number of casualties is underway”.

A local witness disclosed that Sudanese troops fled in the direction of Abu Jabra in East Darfur and that they were chased by the rebels.

The capture of Donkey Deresa comes less than 48 hours after President Omar Al Bashir “sacked” South Darfur Governor Hammad Ismail Hammad “for failing to provide security”, the spokesman noted.

Hammad’s successor is former general Adam Mahmoud Jar Al Nabi, he disclosed.

Earlier this month a member of the Sudanese national assembly suggested that Nyala, capital of South Darfur, could fall in the hands of rebels at “any moment” as the city is besieged by them and it lacks security.

Radio Dabanga has been reporting frequent incidents surrounding the poor security in Nyala.

Merchants are leaving the town in fear of being kidnapped, a local market was recently looted and a train was attacked in the vicinity. The situation is also leading to a shortage in goods at the town and consequently to a rise of prices.

Airstrikes

Following the alleged takeover of Donkey Deresa, local sources said the Sudanese Air Force carried out airstrikes in the area on Sunday, beginning at 1:30pm.

They dropped bombs on houses and used “Antonov airplanes, Sukhoi 29 and helicopters”, onlookers told Radio Dabanga.

“The whole region was burned and we fled to forests, valleys and mountains”, a source recounted.

While running away, citizens could see flames and smoke rising in the sky. The source said bombings continued until 6:00pm.

A resident of Donkey Deresa confirmed rebel forces captured the local garrison but denied they ever entered the village. "In this case why is the government bombing Donkey Deresa?", he questioned.

“Good news”

SLA-MM spokesman warned civilians that “the government of Sudan deceives the population” and warned them not to support Khartoum. Whoever joins the ruling party, he said, will “certainly be killed soon”.

Abkar also warned citizens not to approach military areas and gatherings of government troops, saying they may put themselves in “danger” otherwise.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Abkar said he would soon “announce good news which will be a shock to the government”. He did not provide further details on the subject.

Radio Dabanga could not contact the Sudanese army for comments on this news.

File photo: Members of the coalition of rebel forces (SLA Minni Minawi, SLA Abdul Wahid and LJM) West Darfur (Albert Gonzalez Farran/ UNAMID)

Related: Sudan MP says South Darfur capital can fall in rebel hands any time (5 April 2013)