More flee ahead of 'decisive hour' in Kordofan battle
May 19, 2013 (Radio Tamazuj)
Thousands of people continue to flee across the North Kordofan border from areas around Abu Kershola, a town in South Kordofan seized by the Sudan Revolutionary Front on 27 April.
The army announced through its spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled on Sunday that the "decisive hour is nearing" to liberate Abu Kershola from the rebels. He dismissed rebel claims of an imminent advance toward Khartoum.
Authorities in El Rahad are recruiting more troops to confront the rebel threat, according to a local witness, who told Radio Tamazuj that that young men are being mobilized from among the displaced for the Popular Defence Forces, in order to send them to the battlefield.
An earlier attempt to retake the town was repulsed last Monday morning when rebels intercepted a convoy of some 2,000 paramilitary troops before they could reach the town.
SRF military spokesman Colonel Rumboy claimed that hundreds were killed in the fighting and dozens of military vehicles were captured or destroyed. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir acknowledged in a speech "heavy fighting" as troops neared Abu Kershola and vowed to “purge the area of rebels.”
Subsequent air raids on the town left dead several people including women and children.
At least 45,000 people have fled the conflict in the area, according to figures more than a week old from the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission, cited in a report by the UN Coordination Agency (OCHA) on 12 May.
On Friday residents of El Rahad in North Kordofan told Radio Tamazuj that there is a continuous influx of people fleeing from Abu Kershola and noted that there is great suffering among children and mothers due to lack of humanitarian assistance.
They dismissed statements by the authorities of North Kordofan who claimed that conditions are stable for the war-affected civilians from Abu Kershola. The sources stated that the displaced received few food rations as compared to the large quantity of aid sent to IDPs in Umm Ruwaba.
Abu Kershola lies along a north-south road into the Nuba Mountains. Control of the outpost puts the rebels within striking distance of the east-west route between El Obeid and White Nile State, which the rebels attacked in late April.
SRF, a loose coalition of rebel factions, holds territory in the Nuba Mountains, the central Darfur highlands, Dar Zaghawa in the north-west of Darfur, and southern Blue Nile.
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