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KADUGLI - 18 Apr 2013

Citizens take shelter in South Kordofan capital

Local markets and public institutions were closed in Kadugli yesterday amid reports of flight and displacement as SPLA-North shelled the town for the second time within the last week.

A witness confirmed shelling hit the neighbourhoods of Al Gardud and Al Qasadiya, with seven shells landing in these residential areas.

She revealed that the mortar attacks created great horror and panic amid Kadugli citizens and as a result all public places were closed. But witnesses did not say whether there were any casualties as a result of bombing.

Earler this week the rebel movement warned Kadugli citizens to evacuate the area as they might carry out attacks on the city at any time convenient for them. Three people were killed Friday in attacks on the Al Qasadiya neighborhood.

The spokesman of the Sudanese army, meanwhile, announced the recapture of the Dandor garrison located 18 kilometers east of Kadugli, which rebel forces had seized on Monday.

Colonel Al Sawarmi Khalid Saad affirmed during a press conference in Khartoum that troops are again in control of the garrison, saying that rebels shelled many neighborhoods of Kadugli in revenge for the garrison’s takeover. The spokesman said the situation in Kadugli is under control and that SAF is in full command of the town.

SPLA-N announced its withdrawal from Dandor “after fierce battles against the government” on Wednesday that started at 8:00am and ended at 3:00pm, but claimed not to have lost any troops.

“SAF used all kinds of weapons. It also used 10 aircrafts for its airstrikes: two Antonov airplanes, four helicopters and four MiGs. The airplanes targeted civilian areas, hence our tactical withdrawal. We wanted to avoid casualties,” said rebel spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi.

The rebels admitted shelling the headquarters of SAF in Kadugli following Wednesday's battles. They also destroyed ammunition and supplies of the army stocked at the Abu Ghamra military camp, located 10km from the capital. SPLA-N said the shelling in and around Kadugli comes in response for airstrikes on civilian areas by the army.

The fighting has continued in spite of announcements by Sudanese and SPLM-N officials that they will soon engage in direct peace talks under mediation by the African Union in Addis Ababa, beginning next Monday. SPLM-N assigned its secretary-general Yasser Arman to head its delegation, while Sudan government assigned Ibrahim Ghandour as its chief negotiator.

Reporting by Radio Tamazuj and Radio Dabanga