Sudan’s army has killed a key rebel leader from the western Darfur region, three days after anti-government forces said they had begun advancing on the capital Khartoum.



“The Sudanese army announce that they killed Khalil Ibrahim in fighting today west of Wadbanda in North Kordofan,” the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) said on Sunday.

Ibrahim had headed the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the most heavily armed group in the Darfur region, which the government had accused of being being behind earlier attacks.

On Saturday, the Sudanese army said JEM attacked three areas in North Kordofan state – adjacent to Darfur – killing an unspecified number of civilians.

Colonel Sawarmi Khalid Saad, an army spokesman, was quoted on Sudan’s military website as saying the attacks targeted areas where security forces were not present, targeting local leaders and looting their property in  the Umm-Gozain, Goz Abyadh and Aramal areas.

The death of Ibrahim and “a group of his leaders”, if confirmed, could represent a serious blow to the rebel group, although tightly restricted access to Darfur and Sudan’s other conflict zones makes it almost impossible to accurately gauge the real strength and internal unity of rebel groups.  Read more…