Sudanese Army Kills 300 JEM Rebel Forces In Darfur Days After The International Criminal Court (ICC) Issued An Arrest Warrant For President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir For Orchestrating Genocide In Darfur

 

KHARTOUM | Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:55am EDT

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s army said it has killed more than 300 fighters from Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in recent clashes in which 75 of its own soldiers also died, state media reported on Saturday.

Peacekeepers confirmed that the Sudanese army had clashed with JEM forces two and possibly three times this week, part of a surge in violence since the insurgents suspended participation in peace talks in early May.

No one was immediately available to comment from the JEM.

General Al-Tayeb al-Musbah Osman told the state Suna news agency that the army had destroyed scores of JEM vehicles and recaptured fuel tankers seized by the rebels.

Faltering peace talks have done nothing to quell the fighting, which first flared in 2003 when mostly non-Arab insurgents took up arms against the government, demanding more autonomy.

Tension is high in Darfur, days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur during the counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur by government troops and allied militias.

The court last year indicted Bashir on seven charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Sudan refuses to recognize the court and accuses the Western media of exaggerating the conflict.

Darfur’s joint U.N./African Union peacekeeping force said this week that the army had clashed with JEM fighters near the Adola mountains and near Kuma in north Darfur on Tuesday.

The under-equipped peacekeepers, who are supposed to cover an area the size of Spain, said they were also investigating reports of a third clash in Daba Tago, near the north Darfur settlement of Mellit.

(Reporting by Andrew Heavens, editing by Tim Pearce)

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