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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 09:42 GMT
Darfur rebels 'united' for talks
Members of Sudan's SLM/A surround Minni Minnawi in a truck
Minni Minnawi (c) has agreed to form a single delegation at the talks
Rival leaders of the largest rebel group in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region say they will present a united front at peace talks due to resume in Nigeria.

The splits in the SLM are blamed for the failure of previous talks and an upsurge in recent fighting.

"Our people on the ground need us to remain united," said Abdel Wahid Mohamed el-Nur, one of the men claiming to lead the SLM.

Some two million people have fled their homes in Darfur.

Earlier this month, a top US diplomat told the SLM rebels to end their differences or risking losing support.

'Final round'

Mr Wahid's rival in the SLM, Minni Minnawi, also said they would present a joint position at the talks with the Sudan government in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

"We are going to enter the talks with one delegation... I came here because I hope this should be the final round," he told Reuters news agency.

Mr Minnawi claims to have replaced Mr Wahid as SLM leader but Mr Wahid's supporters say a vote won by Mr Minnawi was invalid.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Sudan says Mr Wahid's has lost some support after he spent most of the last two years outside Darfur.

Mr Minnawi by contrast is a military man and has much greater support among commanders on the ground.

After meeting both factions in Kenya earlier this month, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said.

"My concluding point with the SLM was that we want to help them but to help them they need to help us be able to deal with the united movement."

The rebel splits have coincided with an upsurge in violence in Darfur with repeated ceasefire violations and the killing of African Union peacekeepers in the region.

The SLM took up arms in February 2003, accusing the Arab-dominated government of discriminating against Darfur's black African population.

The pro-government Janjaweed militia then swept through the region, killing and raping civilians in what some say equates to a genocide.

The Sudan government denies claims that it arms the Janjaweed.

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