A pro-government militia in Sudan killed 151 rebels in clashes this week in the country's restive Darfur region, national media reported on Tuesday. Escalating violence in Darfur has raised concerns by rights groups for the safety of residents.
The rebels were killed in a counter-insurgency campaign, the semi-official Sudanese Media center said. It quoted militia commander Abbas Abdel-Aziz saying that several commanders of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) were among the dead.
The SLM, sometimes called the Sudan Liberation Army, is a rebel group that emerged after 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination and neglect.
Army spokesman Col. Sawarme Khalid told state radio that fighting broke out on Sunday in northern Darfur, killing at least 75 rebels.
The disparate figures couldn't be immediately reconciled.
On Friday, Human Rights Watch said renewed ground and air attacks by the Sudanese government against rebel forces in Darfur had resulted in death, destruction and the displacement of more than 200,000 people so far this year.
“The suffering of Darfur’s civilians at the hands of the government seems to never end,” said Daniel Bekele, the group’s Africa director. “The government needs to halt attacks on civilians in Darfur and stop arresting and attacking peaceful protesters.”
Al Jazeera and wires services