Sudanese army says it recaptures parts of Nuba Mountains from rebels

Dec 14, 2000 (AFP)

The Sudanese army said Thursday it recaptured parts of the Nuba Mountains from rebels, freeing 9,000 people allegedly used as human shields.

The army's spokesman General Mohammed Osman Yassin told the official SUNA news agency that government troops retook Keloulu, Daluka and Sat al-Dammam in the western Nuba from the separatist Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

The troops "inflicted heavy losses in lives and equipment on the rebels and seized large quantities of heavy weapons and artillery," Yassin said.

He added that government troops also managed to "liberate during the battles some 9,000 civilians from rebel captivity who were used as human shields and were forced to serve the rebels."

The spokesman said the government army had previously recaptured the eastern Nuba Mountains and "is now tightening its grip on the region and is advancing in defence of every span of the homeland."

The Arab and Muslim government in Khartoum has fought a 17-year civil war against the southern SPLA, made up mainly of African animists and Christians. Northern groups joined the SPLA in 1995 in taking up arms against Khartoum.