Sudan: March 5, 2004


Darfur rebels launched two major attacks on Sudanese government troops. Apparently the two attacks were large-scale ambushes aimed at Sudanese government columns that were attempting to enter towns blockaded by rebel units. The rebels are now claiming to have killed 130 government troops in an attack in Northern Darfur and 230 government troops in the second battle (Southern Darfur State). There was no independent confirmation of the rebel claims, but one rebel spokesman said that the northern battle occurred outside the town of al-Fashir. 3,000 government troops and pro-government militia engaged a rebel blocking force. The same rebel spokesman said that the rebels also had approximately three thousand troops in the battle. It sounds like the JEM and the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) set large-scale traps. The government forces, in both instances, under-estimated the size of the rebel forces. (Austin Bay)

After a week of running battles, the SPLA claims to have killed 86 LRA rebels inside of Sudan. Fighting in southern Sudan erupted between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels pushed out of Uganda, after the LRA ambushed an SPLM/A position near the front line with Sudanese government forces. The Sudanese group lost two men when the LRA brought reinforcements for a counterattack, but they have since taken some prisoners. 

The LRA, known in Sudan as Tong-Tong (hackers of people), had been killing civilians and ran low on supplies, so they were also looting food and rustling cattle in the area. Kony's rebels also attacked SPLA units in two locations between Juba and Torit, between February 24 and 28. 

The Ugandan defense minister has also been in the Khartoum this week meeting Sudanese security officials and drawing up the final strategies for the destruction of Kony's bases in southern Sudan. When the Ugandan Army's Operation 'Iron Fist' began in 2002, the LRA had 15 fighting groups and have since been reduced to only five. 

This increased SPLM/A pressure on the LRA in the run-up to the Sudanese rebels' expected peace deal with the Sudanese government. According to SPLM/A intelligence, the rebels are operating out of government-controlled territory. Apparently, the government is trying to appear like they have washed their hands of Kony. On March 4, the Government conceded that it could reach a peace deal if rebels agreed to give up a potentially oil-rich Abyei region. Sudan earns about $2 billion a year from its growing oil output of about 250,000 barrels a day. - Adam Geibel

A pro-Sudanese militia in south Sudan issued a statement that said it would join the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A also called the SPLA, the organization headed by John Garang). The Equatoria Defense Forces (EDF) said that it was joining the SPLM/A in order to fight the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), the savage rebel group that plagues northern Uganda. The statement said the allied force try to drive foreign-armed groups out of south Sudan. The LRA maintains bases in south Sudan. The EDF is backed by the Sudan government in Khartoum and has been fighting the SPLM/A for years.


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