Khartoum announces killing of rebel leader
Updated: 2011-12-26 08:47
Khalil Ibrahim [Photo/Agencies]
KHARTOUM - The Sudanese government announced on Sunday the killing of the leader of the Darfur-based rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) along with his 30 followers.
In an official statement read out at a press conference in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, Information Minister Abdallah Ali Masar said that "the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) throughout the period from December 19 until yesterday (Saturday) evening had been chasing the JEM rebels moving in more than 140 cars."
Until last night, the SAF managed to kill the JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim and 30 other members, said the statement.
The statement noted that Khalil Ibrahim was killed during the fighting taking place in a remote area between North Darfur State and North Kordofan State.
His forces have attacked innocent citizens and people working at the oil exploration sties in the area, in addition to looting shops, destroying homes and kidnapping a number of youths with the aim of training them in the south as fighters, said the statement.
The government urged the arms carriers from the Darfur to listen to the sound of wisdom, favor the interests of the people in Darfur, embark on the peaceful process, participate in the rehabilitation of Darfur and contribute to the development of Sudan.
The statement reiterated the government's willingness to achieve peace in Darfur, describing the stance of Ibrahim as " obstinate."
Khalil Ibrahim's stance toward the peace efforts was negative since his movement has kept on the method of violence, sabotage and spreading panic among civilians, according to the statement.
The Darfur region last week witnessed a wave of military clashes between the Sudanese army and fighters of many rebel groups which have allied under the "Revolutionary Front."
Over the past two days, Darfur rebels attacked many areas in North Kordofan, leaving a number of civilians dead. The armed groups also looted some markets and held a number of youths who were working at the gold exploration areas.
The JEM, which is considered the most powerful rebel group in Darfur, announced Saturday that their fighters had moved eastwards and reached near Al-Nuhood area in North Kordofan region in an attempt to reach the Sudanese capital and topple the government.
The SAF on Friday confirmed attacks by JEM rebels in North Kordofan's Um Qozain, Qoz Abyad and Armal areas, not far from North Darfur, where the rebels are based.
The JEM, which participated in the Doha process to end the Darfur conflict, has refused to sign a peace agreement with the government. Last November, it forged an alliance with two other factions to overthrow the government.
Ibrahim returned to Darfur last September from Libya, where he had lived a long time before former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled. The Sudanese government had accused the Gaddafi leadership of supporting the JEM, providing arms to the rebel group and hosting and training its members.