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Sudan takes control of Darfur town from rebels

world Updated: Feb 06, 2009 00:05 IST

AFP
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Sudanese troops took control of the Darfur town of Muhajaria, two weeks after it was seized by rebels sparking some of the region's worst fighting in years, an army spokesman said.

The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said its fighters had pulled out of the town after being pounded by government warplanes on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.

"We are inside the town and are following the JEM troops," an army spokesman said, requesting anonymity.

JEM spokesman Suleiman Sandal said that rebels had withdrawn from the town in the western province of Sudan after renewed air strikes. "We are 30 kilometres from the city," he said.

Peacekeepers with the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reported ongoing shooting and an air strike about one kilometre from their base in Muhajaria.

The fighting, for which there was no immediate casualty toll, had led civilians to gather around the UNAMID camp and Sudanese soldiers were carrying out patrols within 500 metres of the camp.

JEM chairman Khalil Ibrahim vowed on Tuesday to pull his fighters out of Muhajaria on condition that rival militiamen loyal to former rebel chief Mini Minnawi did not return to the town they lost last month.