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Sudan Rebels Capture Army Garrison

April 16, 1999

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Sudanese rebels have captured an army garrison in eastern Sudan, killing dozens of pro-government militiamen, a rebel spokesman said Friday.

The attack on the Um Breika garrison took place Thursday morning, and militiamen fled ``after a short battle, leaving dozens of dead bodies,″ Gen. Abdul-Rahman Saeed Abdul-Rahman, spokesman of the joint military command of the National Democratic Alliance, said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo.

Three rebels were wounded, according to the statement, which said weapons also were seized from the garrison south of Kassala town, 250 miles east of the capital, Khartoum.

The attack is part of a rebel strategy intended to close the main highway linking the Red Sea city Port Sudan with Khartoum, according to the rebel statement. The garrison, it said, is five miles from the highway.

The statement said the rebels were fighting back a government counterattack on Friday, but that no details were yet available.

In a separate statement, the group said that a commando unit of the opposition Umma Liberation Army also attacked army defenses Thursday east of Showak city and captured Dot Kiok Amor, whom it described as the chief officer there. It did not provide a rank. Showak city is 60 miles south of Kassala.

There was no immediate word from the government on the claims. Both sides, however, have reported clashes in eastern Sudan during the past week.

The NDA groups northern and southern opposition parties, including the southern Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army. Since 1983, the SPLA has been fighting the Islamic-dominated government for greater autonomy for Sudan’s mainly Christian and animist south. More than 1.9 million Sudanese have died in the fighting and related famines.

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