Darfur Battle Leaves Rebels in Rare 'Control' over Town

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Rebels in Sudan's troubled Darfur region on Monday reported the rare seizure of a town from government control after fighting that resulted in arrests and casualties.

The Sudan Liberation Army's (SLA's) Abdelwahid Nur faction took control of Golo, a major town in the Jebel Marra area, at about mid-day on Monday after fighting when government militia tried to attack a rebel position, the group's spokesman Ibrahim Al-Hillu told Agence France Presse.

Hillu said the rebels seized heavy machine guns, mortars, vehicles and other military equipment in the town and had taken prisoners. There were also casualties but he had no details.

Sudan's army spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The fertile and mountainous Jebel Marra area is home to the non-Arab Fur people who gave their name to Darfur (Land of the Fur), and who are represented by Nur's faction.

The group has several hundred combatants and a "sphere of influence" limited to the Jebel Marra region, which has been regularly targeted by government military operations and air attacks, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.

In May, Nur's faction along with the SLA-Minni Minnawi group briefly took control of the southern Darfur town of Girayda from government forces.

Peacekeepers from the African Union-U.N. Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) later found bodies in the street and signs of looting.

The SLA and other ethnic insurgents began an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government nearly a decade ago.

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