Sudan: May 29, 2003


The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in North Darfur state claimed its forces killed 500 Sudanese government troops. Another report claimed the destruction of a Sudanese battalion (which would be about 500 to 600 troops). Of course, destroying a battalion (in terms of combat effectiveness) is not the same as killing all of the troops in a battalion. The SLM claimed its forces destroyed several trucks in the firefight. These claims from North Darfur have not been substantiated by western press sources on the ground with one or two possible exceptions, most of the battle reports weve seen in the last few months have been based on rebel press releases or phone interviews. Still, killing 500 government troops is well within the capabilities of tribal warriors armed with modern weapons. Most Sudanese government forces are not well trained, period, and its doubtful that Sudan has posted quality troops in North Darfur. Once the low-quality government troops lose unit cohesion, the government soldiers are highly vulnerable. The tribal warriors may want booty more than they want prisoners. That being noted, another press report said the SLM claimed it had taken 300 government troops as prisoners in one of these engagements. Whats the truth in North Darfur? We are certain that the SLM is carrying out active operations against the Sudanese government (Khartoum) the Sudanese government has acknowledged that these guys are a problem. (Austin Bay)


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