Sudan sends reinforcements to the troubled Blue Nile

Sudan is sending hundreds of troop reinforcements to the troubled Blue Nile region, state-linked media said on Thursday, after reports of clashes with rebels in a strategic border town.

Sudan is sending hundreds of troop reinforcements to the troubled Blue Nile region, state-linked media said on Thursday, after reports of clashes with rebels in a strategic border town.

Battalion 191 has arrived in the Blue Nile state capital Ed Damazin and two more battalions are expected, reported the Sudanese Media Centre which is close to the security apparatus.

It said the move aims to “improve the security in Blue Nile... to clean the state of rebels.”

Witnesses also reported fighter planes and helicopters in the area.

Sources told AFP that there has been fighting in El Kurmuk, a border town about 240 kilometres (150 miles) south of Damazin.

“The reports that are coming consistently from that region are (of) fighting between SPLM-N and SAF,” one source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

“Kurmuk seems to be the hot-spot there,” he said, referring to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

Another source on Tuesday had reported “heavy fighting” in Kurmuk since the start of the week.

The war in Blue Nile has generally not been as intense as the one in South Kordofan state, where the SPLM-N is also fighting, making the battle around Kurmuk unusual.

The SPLM-N claimed last Sunday to have pushed into the town’s southwest but since then have made virtually no comment except to claim fighting continues in the town.

Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Last Sunday, he denied the rebels were near the town and said their claim was a “fabrication” designed to damage army morale.

Sudan’s government severely restricts access to Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where the SPLM-N took has been fighting government forces since 2011.

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