December 31 , 2004: Face it-- there is no ceasefire in west Sudan. Government and rebel sources report several new battles between SLA and JEM rebels and government forces. A government report said rebels and a a pro-government militia fought in West Kordofan state. Some 21 rebels and 62 militia fighters were killed . The government report said the rebels "attacked the town of Ghibaish" (on December 29). The rebel forces used trucks to move their troops into the area. The government indicated that the town had some regular Sudan military troops and policemen present, as well as the militia forces. This is in line with what we know about most Sudanese operations. Sudan deploys a military and police cadre in towns and villages to control and coordinate with pro-government militia forces.
Over the past week, several NGOs have reported new attacks by pro-government Islamic militias in Sudan's Darfur region. A United Nations team in South Darfur reported on January 13 that two attacks by an "unidentified militia" had taken place in its area. Only one person was reported killed. Another attack took place on an NGO team on January 11 in North Darfur. No one was killed. The UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) is now positioning monitoring teams in North Darfur. It's very likely some of these attacks are banditry. However, the Sudanese government and local Islamist militias really do not want international monitors in the region, and attacks on NGO personnel and vehicles are a strong form of intimidation.