Darfur rebels claim to be in control of 2 garrisons near Nyala

SHATAYA

(

18 Apr

.) -

Following battles that killed 17 members of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and allied Abu Tira, Darfur rebels are claiming to be control of two garrisons near Nyala in South Darfur.

Spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Abdel Wahid (SLA-AW) said the garrison of Shataya, located about 100km west of South Darfur's capital, was captured on Thursday at 6:00am.

Next, rebel troops moved to Kailek, where they seized the local military base, Mustapha Tambour said. He noted that both Kailek and Shataya garrisons are jointly managed by SAF and the Central Reserve Forces (Abu Tira).

According to the spokesman, SLA-AW fighters captured “all ammunition and weapons” of both bases, in addition to 10 Land Cruisers mounted with heavy artillery.

Following the garrisons’ takeover SAF bombed the battlefield, Tambour said, adding that no casualties have been reported. He said that government and Abu Tira troops fled towards Kass and Umm Labasa.  

Radio Dabanga could not contact SAF for comments.  

4 civilians wounded

Eyewitnesses from Shataya confirmed to Radio Dabanga that SLA-AW took over the Shataya garrison on Thursday morning following clashes that left SAF troops dead.

They added that four civilians were wounded, including three women. All of them were transferred to a hospital in Kass for treatment.

Sources also confirmed that rebel forces seized every weapon and ammunition from the base SAF and Abu Tira share. However, they said SLA-AW captured two vehicles, not 10 as Tambour claimed.

Local residents, in light of the battles, fled to nearby forests and valleys and they described their situation as “very difficult”.

In line with witnesses’ accounts, SLA-AW headed towards Kailek after Shataya’s battles.

Two weeks ago the rebel group SLA-MM allegedly seized the village of Ishma, located eight kilometers east of Nyala, capital of South Darfur.

The same faction this week lost control of two strategically located  towns in East Darfur to the Sudanese army and allied militias.

Earlier this month a Sudanese MP had suggested Nyala could fall in the hands of rebels at “any moment” as the city is besieged by them and lacks security.

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir last week relieved the governor of South Darfur from his duties following the increasing insecurity in the state.

File photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran/ UNAMID

Related:

SAF, rebels lay mutual blames for violence in Darfur town takeover (17 April 2013)

Fresh clashes between rebels and Sudan army leave 'dozens killed' (8 April 2013)