'No Mali Islamist fighters in Darfur'
14 February 2013, 13:35
Khartoum - Sudan's army said rebels had infiltrated into the
troubled Darfur region from the Central African Republic but denied these were
Islamist fighters fleeing a French advance in Mali, state news agency SUNA said
With air strikes and ground forces, France has pushed
Islamist rebels out of cities and into desert and mountain hideouts in a
four-week operation to prevent Mali becoming a base for attacks in Africa and
Western governments fear that al-Qaeda-linked fighters will
cross African borders as they seek refuge.
On Friday, a Sudanese rebel group and a Netherlands-based
Darfuri radio station said fleeing Islamists from Mali had arrived in the
western Darfur region, scene of a decade-long insurgency.
But Sudan's army spokesperson al-Sawarmi Khalid told SUNA an
unspecified number of rebels based in South Sudan had entered South Darfur
state via Sudan's remote border with the Central African Republic.
"These forces have nothing to do with the claims from
the Darfur movements," he said.
He said the government in Khartoum had instructed the
security authorities in South Darfur to destroy the rebel forces, about whom he
gave no further details.
Sudan and South Sudan accuse each other of supporting rebels
on each other's territory.
The neighbours, mutually deeply mistrustful after fighting
one of Africa's longest civil wars, have failed to implement a September
agreement to secure their disputed border after coming close to war in April.
The rule of law has collapsed in large parts of Darfur since
mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government in 2003.