Darfur fighting kills 50

June 23, 2010 12:00 am

, KHARTOUM, Jun 23- Fighting on Tuesday between government troops and rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement killed 50 people and wounded 101 in Sudan\’s Darfur region, an army spokesman said.

Soldiers attacked JEM positions in Uzban, southeast of El Fasher, after they had moved in recently and "sown chaos and instability," Sawarmi Khaled Saad was quoted by the Sudanese Media Centre as saying.

Saad said 43 rebels were killed and 90 wounded, while seven soldiers died and 11 were wounded.

A JEM source confirmed the fighting and claimed victory.

"There was a battle that resulted in numerous casualties," JEM spokesman Ali al-Wafi told AFP by telephone.

"We were not able to count the number of dead and wounded because night had fallen, but one thing is certain: we won the battle."

Officials of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission UNAMID were unable to provide any details.

The fighting comes a day before the Sudanese government and another rebel movement, the Liberation and Justice Movement, are to start direct peace talks in Qatar.

JEM signed a framework accord in February in Doha but talks have since run into problems, and a deadline set for completing the peace deal passed on March 15 without agreement.

Darfur, an arid desert region the size of France, has been gripped by a civil war since 2003 that has killed 300,000 people and displaced another 2.7 million, according to UN figures. Khartoum says 10,000 people have died.

Violence killed 600 people in Darfur in May, the worst monthly figure since the deployment of peacekeepers in 2008.


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