12 May 2008

Darfur rebels reach Sudan capital

Sudan raised the spectre of war with neighbouring Chad yesterday, accusing it of backing Darfuri rebels who launched a daring assault on its capital, Khartoum.

Rebel fighters in 200 vehicles mounted with heavy machineguns made for the four-day journey to the capital from their strongholds in the Darfur region

Hundreds of fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) also attacked Omdurman, which lies across the Nile from the capital, on Saturday. Sudanese forces responded with artillery and helicopter gunships as fighting raged throughout the weekend. It was the first time that the conflict in Darfur had reached the gates of the capital.

UN sources and analysts in Khartoum said that Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the JEM, wanted to show his strength rather than launch a serious attempt to topple the Government. But the attack brings closer the prospect of the region’s proxy war becoming a full-blown conflict.

About 200 vehicles mounted with heavy machineguns made the four-day journey from their strongholds in the Jebel Moon region of West Darfur. They crossed into the north of the region and then into Northern Kordofan, using areas controlled by sympathetic tribes.

Sudan cuts ties with Chad after Darfur rebels reach Khartoum - Times Online