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Sudan Deploys Toops to Libyan Border, Closes Libyan Consulate
May 31, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government sent reinforcements to the borders with Libya amid reports of fighting between Darfur rebels and armed Libyan opposition, an official said today.
Hafez Omar Alfa spokesman for the state government of North Darfur which borders Libya, said in a statement that the measures undertaken are designed to prevent leakage of weapons and entry of the Darfur rebels that reportedly clashed with Libyan opposition.
The official said that the security arrangements are preventive and defensive in nature as part of the security plan in place since the outbreak of the crisis of Libya.
"We took all precautions early in order to avoid any effects or possible negative repercussions on the security, social or economic aspects as a result of Libyan battles and reports of clashes between Darfuri movements and Libyans rebels," Alfa said.
Gaddafi is fighting an armed rebellion that initially started as a popular uprising in mid-February. The Libyan opposition managed to control most of the Eastern side of the country. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in March authorized a no-fly zone over Libya and using all necessary means to protect civilians.
Now in its fourth month, Libya’s conflict is deadlocked on the ground, with anti-Gaddafi rebels unable to break out of their strongholds and advance towards Tripoli, where Gaddafi appears to be firmly entrenched.
Rebels control the east of Libya around the city of Benghazi, Libya’s third-biggest city Misrata, and a mountain range stretching from the town of Zintan, 150 km (95 miles) south of Tripoli, towards the border with Tunisia.
Sudan closed its shared borders with Libya in early July 2010 after Libya provided sanctuary to Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the Darfur rebel group justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
The borders were re-opened in February this year as Sudan attempted to evacuate thousands of its citizens fleeing the war in Libya.
Last week, a Libyan rebel commander said that opposition fighters fought off a Sudanese mercenary force 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of the southeast oasis of Kufra.
He said they also found documents indicating the fighters were from Darfur JEM.
The pro-government Al-Intibaha newspaper said last week that Darfur rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur also clashed with Libyan opposition near Kufra.
Witnesses in Libya have reported African mercenary fighters shooting at protesters or being captured by anti-Gadhafi forces. Some were flown in to put down the rebellion, but most fighters were already in the country.
In a related issue Kamal Huzayfa, a leading figure in the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), concluded his visit to Sudan where he vowed intensification of military campaign against Gaddafi’s rule.
Huzayfa disclosed that the TNC will send some of its members for training inside Sudan but did not elaborate on the nature of the training. He expressed the council’s gratitude to the people of Sudan and its government for their support.
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