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Darfur rebels failed to capture border town

world Updated: May 26, 2009 10:53 IST
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Darfur rebels failed to capture a town bordering Chad from Sudanese soldiers, contrary to earlier reports, the UNAMID peacekeeping force said on Monday.

"Contrary to the information we had yesterday the rebels did not succeed to capture Umm Baru. The Sudanese army still had control of Umm Baru Monday morning," said Kemal Saiki, spokesman for the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur.

"The situation is very complex," he said.

The spokesman had said on Sunday that Umm Baru had fallen to rebels, presumably belonging to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

JEM had already overrun another town close to the Chadian border.

Saiki did not explain on Monday why UNAMID had reported the town captured but said the rebels may have seized parts of Umm Baru before being driven back by Sudanese forces.

Around 350 civilians and 100 unarmed Sudanese soldiers had sought refuge in a nearby UNAMID camp, he said.

The town in Sudan's North Darfur province has been the scene of clashes over the past two weeks between JEM fighters and pro-government forces.

The Sudanese army had said on Sunday that they were still in control of the town, accusing JEM, with Chadian military support, of carrying out the assault.

JEM rebels had already seized control of the town of Kornoy, 50 (31 miles) kilometres from the Chad border, and captured several Sudanese army officers and soldiers there.