Over 60 killed, hundreds displaced in Darfur violence

May 26th, 2009 - 4:26 am ICT by IANS  

Khartoum, May 26 (Xinhua) At least 20 Sudanese soldiers and 43 insurgents have been killed in fighting in the restive Darfur region, as rebels fought a pitched battle with the security forces before being crushed, leaving more than 300 people homeless, officials said Monday.
The fighting started Sunday after the armed rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) group attacked the government soldiers to gain control of the Umm Baru area in North Darfur State.

Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) spokesman Osman Mohammed al-Aghbash said the troops managed to defeat the rebels in the attack but in the process 20 soldiers were killed and 31 others injured.

He added that 43 rebels were killed and dozens of vehicles of the insurgents were destroyed in the fighting.

Meanwhile, the UN and African Union peacekeeping forces in Darfur (UNAMID) said the Sudanese Army has gained full control of the Umm Baru area after the fighting.

UNAMID spokesman Ahmed Salah said about 350 civilians who fled the area after the fighting broke out have taken shelter in government relief camps and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

At least 53 civilians who were seriously injured in the fighting needed immediate evacuation for further medical treatment, UNAMID said in a statement in Khartoum Monday.

The situation in the conflict zone has been calm Monday while the UNAMID peacekeepers were monitoring the developments after the attack.

Officials said this was the second attack by JEM rebels in the past 10 days against the government troops in North Darfur.

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