Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 10:38 UK

Sudan army takes town from rebels

Jem rebels along the Sudan-Chad border in 2007
Jem rebels have attacked two army bases in Darfur in just over a week

Sudan's army says it has taken control of a town near its border with Chad, recently seized by rebels.

Sudan says more than 60 people were killed during the fighting with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement around the town of Kornoi, in Darfur.

The news comes as African leaders meet for talks, partly on regional conflict.

Sudan and Chad accuse each other of backing one another's rebels and solving their dispute is seen as a key step in solving the crisis in Darfur.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is expected at the summit of the 28-member Community of Sahel and Saharan States in Libya.


The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Mr Bashir for war crimes in Darfur, which he denies.

A new round of talks between the Sudanese government and Jem rebels is also due to start in Qatar to pave the way for a peace conference on Darfur.

An army spokesman said Jem had "completely evacuated" the area of Kornoi, 50km (31 miles) from Chad, and retreated towards the border, AFP news agency reports.

Jem seized Kornoi earlier this month and it tried to take an army base at nearby Umm Baru twice last week.

The rebels said they had withdrawn from the area for "humanitarian purposes" to protect the civilian population from air attacks.

"The government warplanes were making very wide bombardment," senior Jem commander Suleiman Sandal told Reuters news agency.

Earlier this week, a spokesman from the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force said around 350 civilians and 100 unarmed Sudanese soldiers had sought refuge in a nearby Unamid camp during clashes.

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have died in a six-year conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and more than two million more have been displaced.

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