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22 May 2008 14:25
Sudan said on Thursday a senior member of the Darfur rebel forces that launched an attack on Khartoum killing more than 200 people had been arrested.
State media reported the detention of Abdel Aziz Ashr, describing him as the half-brother of Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the insurgent Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
The report was confirmed by a security source who said Ashr had been acting as the “field commander” of JEM’s forces.
There were no details of where or when the arrest took place.
No one was immediately available for comment from JEM, which analysts say controls the most powerful military force out of Darfur’s rebel factions.
JEM launched an assault on Khartoum on May 10, travelling across hundreds of kilometres of desert and scrubland in more than 300 heavily armed vehicles to strike the suburb of Omdurman.
Government forces stopped the rebels at a bridge into central Khartoum, a few kilometres from the army headquarters and the presidential palace.
It was the first time that rebels from Sudan’s far-flung districts had managed to reach the capital in decades.
JEM troops retreated from Khartoum, and officers said they were regrouping in territory controlled by their forces in Darfur. Sudanese security forces have been searching Omdurman for remnants of the rebel force.
Human rights groups have accused Khartoum of carrying out mass arrests and torturing suspects.
The government denies the accusations.—Reuters
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