Clashes with rebels kill 22 soldiers in Sudan

Published on Tuesday 20th May 2008

Sudan: At least 22 Sudanese soldiers have been killed and 45 wounded in fighting with former southern rebels in the oil-rich town of Abyei.


"Twenty-two Sudan Armed Forces soldiers were killed and 45 were injured" in a six hour battle Tuesday, said Brigadier General Muntasser Sabil Adam, commander of government forces in Abyei on Wednesday. He gave no estimate for numbers of dead on the other side.

"The situation today is very quiet and we are making our arrangements," Sabil added without providing any further information.

The army accused the Sudan People's Liberation Army, from semi-autonomous South Sudan, of attacking its positions in the town -- an assault that has raised fears for a 2005 north-south peace deal that ended two decades of civil war, Press Tv report said.

The fighting in the flashpoint region of Abyei that lies along the disputed boundary line between the former civil war foes has killed an undetermined number of people in the last few days and displaced the majority of the town's civilians -- between 30,000 and 50,000 civilians, according to the UN.

The clashes were sparked by a local dispute last week. The UN Mission in Sudan said fighting came close to the gate of its main compound in the town on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York on Tuesday that Ban was deeply concerned and warned both sides that the achievements of the 2005 accord could be at serious risk if fighting continued.