Sudan’s army said Monday that rebels in Darfur had attacked their troops, weeks after a landmark peace deal, but that the gunmen were from a key faction that had rejected the truce.
“Despite the ceasefire… a force belonging to the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Abdelwahid Nour, attacked our troops in Baldong, Jebel Marra,” read the army statement.
“Our forces stationed in this area retaliated and repelled the attack.”
The army said it remained “committed” to the August 31 ceasefire, and made no mention of any casualties.
Rebel leader Abdelwahid Nour has lived abroad for several years, including in Paris, but he retains support on the ground and has refused to be included in the latest peace efforts, which follow the fall of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir last year.
Sudanese authorities and rebel commanders from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) coalition initialled the peace agreement in August, and are due to sign a “final” deal in early October.
It is aimed to end nearly two decades of conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, particularly in the vast western Darfur region.
Sudan’s rebels are largely drawn from minority groups who were marginalised under Bashir’s rule, while competition between pastoralists and settled farmers was a key driver of the conflicts.
Since hardline Islamist Bashir was overthrown, the new government has made a priority of striking peace with rebels.