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29 Dec 2012 12:01
Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers. (AFP)
The Sudan Liberation Army's (SLA) Abdelwahid Nur faction said late on Friday it had captured the government office and army base in Guldo district near Central Darfur state's Nertiti town.
Ibrahim al-Hillu, the group's spokesperson, called it "a great victory in the history of the war in Darfur" as his faction had never before seized a district.
He said Guldo fell after the rebels earlier on Friday captured a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) compound to the southeast, between the South Darfur capital Nyala and Kass town.
On Monday, Hillu reported that his faction had taken the town of Golo, a few kilometres east of Guldo. While rebels often report skirmishes with government forces in Darfur, they rarely claim to have occupied towns.
Sudan's army spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Land of the Fur
Guldo and Golo are in the fertile and mountainous Jebel Marra area which 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.
The Jebel Marra is a regular target for military operations and air attack, 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-UN 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 government in Khartoum a decade ago.
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