Sudan recaptures Darfur areas from rebels
Sudan’s army has recaptured areas in the western region of Darfur and South Kordofan regions from rebels, a military spokesman has said, adding that a number of soldiers were killed and wounded in the fighting.
Darfur has been embroiled in conflict since mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms in 2003 against the Arab-led government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination.
Darfur rebels have since joined forces with groups in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where an
armed rebellion is raging, mounted mostly by ex-civil war fighters left in Sudan after the south seceded in 2011.
“The armed forces managed on Monday evening to drive the remnants of the so-called Sudan Liberation Movement rebel faction led by Arko Minawi out of Abu Liha area in North Darfur State,” army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khalid said in a statement, adding that the army also retook the area of Abu Gamra.
Senior UN officials in Sudan asked to leave
Sudan is reported to have ordered two senior UN officials to leave, amid tensions between Khartoum and the peacekeeping mission in the western Darfur region.
A UN spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anoymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Ali Zaatari and Yvonne Helle were ordered to leave on Thursday.
Zaatari has been UN resident coordinator at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) while Helle worked as the UNDP’s country director.
The UNDP and Sudanese foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesperson, said the UN had protested against the expulsions.
“The UN has filed a protest with the government of Sudan following their decision to request the departure of two senior UN officials from the country,” he told the AFP news agency.
Dujarric said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, “condemns” the move and urged Sudan to “immediately” reverse the decision and cooperate with UN entities in the country.