BEIRUT

Middle East

Sudan to 'force' rebels from border zone: army

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir waves to military soldiers in Heglig April 23, 2012. Al-Bashir vowed on Monday not to negotiate with South Sudan after it occupied the Heglig region. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

KHARTOUM: Sudan's army on Monday threatened to use force to dislodge Darfur rebels who set up a compound in a border area disputed by South Sudan.

The threat comes as concern grows over delays in implementing security deals which the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan hailed in September as ending conflict after they fought along their undemarcated border in March and April.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front built a compound, set up a checkpoint and is flying its flag in the Al-Regaibat area, 10 kilometres (6 miles) north of Samaha at the Bahr al-Arab River, army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said.

Sudan and South Sudan dispute the area, which Sudan considers to be part of East Darfur state.

"The Sudanese Armed Forces will not stand with hands tied in the face of this aggression, and will respond to this and any similar incidents by force," Saad was quoted as saying by the official SUNA news agency.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front, an alliance of rebel groups from different Sudanese states, says it is fighting to overthrow the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.

A spokesman for rebels from Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which belongs to the Front, confirmed they have a compound "north of the border" but declined to be specific.

The Samaha region is one of five areas disputed by Khartoum and the South's government in Juba.

They have not been able to resolve the disputes despite African Union (AU) mediation which led to the September agreements that included a demilitarised border buffer zone.

The two nations have not, however, been able to agree on practical steps to implement those agreed security arrangements, the AU said on November 10.

It urged their "full and timely implementation," to enhance confidence and to enable the other deals to take effect.

 

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