Darfur rebels accuse Sudan army of launching major attack
DOHA — A Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, accused Sudanese troops on Friday of launching a major attack on their positions despite a framework peace pact signed in Qatar in February.
"Fighting is taking place between our forces and the army, which launched an attack with dozens of military vehicles and helicopters against our positions in Jebel Jalik," 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of the JEM stronghold of Jebel Moon, in West Darfur, the group's spokesman Ahmad Hussein Adam told AFP.
"Our commanders on the ground have informed us that the fighting is continuing. There is no information on casualties but we are sure that our fighters will repel the attackers," he said.
"This attack represents one of many violations of the peace accord since Tuesday. Among other things, the army has bombed wells, wounding 17 people and killing hundreds of cows," he added.
Adam denounced the silence of peacebrokers and the joint United Nations-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping force, saying the JEM would "evaluate the situation regarding whether or not to pursue the peace process."
The rebel group already accused the Sudanese army of attacking them in Darfur last week and of seeking to impose a military solution in the country's war-torn western region.
JEM, one of two key Darfur rebel groups, signed a framework accord in February in Doha that was hailed by the international community as a major step toward bringing peace to the region devastated by a seven-year war.
But talks between Khartoum and JEM have since run into problems and a deadline set under the accord for completing the peace deal passed on March 15 without agreement.
Darfur, an arid desert region the size of France, has been gripped by civil war since 2003 that has killed some 300,000 people and displaced another 2.7 million, according to UN figures. Khartoum says 10,000 people have died.