2008 attack on Omdurman and Khartoum

2008 attack on Omdurman and Khartoum

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Attack on Omdurman and Khartoum
partof=the Darfur War

caption=Sudanese TV shows the aftermath of the rebel attack on Omdurman on May 10, 2008.
date=May 10 - May 12 2008
place=Khartoum and Omdurman, Sudan
result=National Islamic Front (Sudanese government) victory
strength1=1,231 according to the government [http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11376220 Sudan and Chad | A bloody tit-for-tat | Economist.com ] ]
casualties1=400 killed according to the government [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27124 SudanTribune article : Sudan security criticized over failure to stop rebels from reaching capital ] ]
casualties2=106 killed according to the government [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3542991,00.html At least 200 dead in rebel assault on Sudanese capital] ]
1 Russian mercenary killed
1 MiG-29 shot down
casualties3=30 civilians killed

The 2008 attack on Omdurman and Khartoum was a military advance by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfuri rebel group, against the Sudanese government in the cities of Omdurman and Khartoum. From the ruling government's viewpoint, the attack took place on a single day, May 10, 2008, while JEM has countered the government's account with reports of heavy fighting in parts of the Khartoum metropolitan area into May 11. [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/darfur-rebels-poised-to-take-khartoum-825914.html Darfur rebels poised to take Khartoum] - "The Independent" 2008-05-11]

It was the first time that the fighting, previously confined to western Sudan reached the country's capital, marking a dramatic widening of the conflict. [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/2A52D133-B3CC-4786-8A7F-77AB62067DBD.htm Al Jazeera English - News - Sudan 'Repulses' Rebel Attack ] ]


May 10

On May 10, 2008, Sudanese government soldiers and Darfur rebels clashed in the city of Omdurman, opposite the capital of Khartoum, over the control of a military headquarters. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27076 Curfew in capital as Sudanese army clash near Khartoum with Darfur rebels] - "Sudan Tribune" 2008-05-10] A Sudanese police spokesperson said the alleged leader of the assailants, Mohamed Saleh Garbo, and his intelligence chief, Mohamed Nur Al-Deen, were both killed in the clash.

Witnesses reported heavy gunfire in the west of Sudan's capital and helicopters and army vehicles rushing through the streets towards Omdurman. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7394033.stm Sudanese rebels 'reach Khartoum'] - BBC News 2008-05-10] After seizing of the strategic military airbase at Wadi-Sayedna, the Sudanese soldiers eventually defeated the rebels, and by late afternoon Sudanese TV told that the rebels had been "completely repulsed", while showing live pictures of burnt vehicles and bodies on the street. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27077 PHOTOS: Sudan capital after today's attack from Darfur JEM] - "Sudan Tribune" 2008-05-10] The government declared an overnight curfew shortly after its announced cessation of hostilities at 1400 GMT.

However, the JEM's spokespersons had denied the government's allegations of victory against the rebels, instead stating that fighting was still going on in Omdurman and Khartoum North. The JEM has identified the overthrow of Omar Hassan al-Bashir's military government as the goal of the rebels.Fact|date=May 2008

A Sudanese Air Force MiG-29 was shot down by heavy machine gun fire while attacking the JEM convoy; the Russian mercenary pilot was killed as his parachute did not open after ejecting. [ [http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20080530.aspx Russian Fighter Pilot Shot Down In Sudan] ]

May 11

Omdurman residents said there was more fighting on the morning of May 11. Fighting was also reported on May 12, after security forces pursued a small group of suspected rebels. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7395379.stm BBC NEWS | Africa | Sudan crackdown after rebel raid ] ]

May 12

On May 12, Khalil Ibrahim spoke by telephone to the Associated Press claiming to still be within Omdurman with his fighters. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/12/africa/AF-GEN-Sudan.php Darfur rebel leader vows to wear out government forces in long guerrilla war] , Associated Press ("International Herald Tribune"), May 12, 2008] Residents reported that fighting was continuing on May 12 in the markets of Al-Souq Al-Sha’bi in Omdurman and Al-Souq Al-Arabi, AlG’abat and Al-Huria Street in central Khartoum, west of the American Embassy, that same day on the other bank of the nile, residents in Banat and Al-Muhandiseen areas reported some shootings in the area, an eyewitness said that the Sudanese security forces set a siege around on of the buildings said to be occupied by the JEM fighters. [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/05/13/sudan18812.htm Sudan: Mass Arrests After Rebel Attack Raise Concern (Human Rights Watch, 13-5-2008) ] ]


Cutoff of diplomatic relations with Chad

Sudan accused its neighbor Chad of providing haven and ammunition to the rebels, and the Sudanese government had announced that rebels were moving over the border from Chad to the Darfur region, which is the epicenter of the conflict between Darfuri rebels and pro-government Janjaweed militants; the rebels then moved over some 600 km (400 miles) of desert and scrub from Darfur to the Khartoum metropolitan area. Chad denied the allegations, but Sudan immediately cut off relations with Chad for the first time since a non-aggression pact was signed between the two countries' governments in mid-March. [ [http://www.france24.com/en/20080510-sudan-says-rebel-attack-capital-failed-khartoum Sudan cuts diplomatic ties with Chad] - France 24 2008-05-11]


Hassan al-Turabi and 10 other members of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) were arrested at dawn in their homes in Khartoum, because of their alleged links to the rebels. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/05/12/sudan.arrest.ap/ Sudanese opposition leader arrested] , CNN, May 12, 2008] Turabi was released later in the day, denying any such relationship between the PCP and JEM. [Wasil Ali, [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27123 "Sudanese Islamist opposition leader denies link with Darfur rebels"] , "Sudan Tribune", May 13, 2008.]

The Sudanese armed forces offered a $125,000 USD bounty for the arrest of the JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim, who was allegedly wounded by government forces during fighting on May 10 in Omdurman. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7395379.stm Sudan crackdown after rebel raid] , BBC, 2008-05-12]

International reaction

* ]
*: The European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, condemned the attack on the Sudanese capital by the JEM, saying: "There can be no military solution to the crisis in Darfur, in particular, nor to the problems of Sudan, in general." He also urged the Sudanese government to exert in the coming days maximum restraint, in particular towards the civilian populations of the capital, primary victims of this new surge of violence. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27096 EU condemns rebel attack urges Sudan for self-restraint] - "Sudan Tribune" 2008-05-11]
*: Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe stated from Crawford, Texas that the U.S. government was very concerned about the invasion, and urged "that both sides cease hostilities, whether it is the rebel group or any response from the government. We want to see a calm and order restored." [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN10538135 U.S. urges restraint after Sudan violence] - Reuters 2008-05-11]
*: Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre condemned the rebel attack on Khartoum, saying according to a press release Sunday, that: "The fighting shows the need for reinforced efforts from the UN, AU, the international community and parties in the Darfur conflict to find a political solution to the conflict in Darfur. The conference emphasized the need for a united international effort to create peace in the entire Sudan. The situation in Sudan is now very serious. Only political dialogue can change this. Both the authorities in Sudan and rebel movements have to recognise that the continued military struggle is a dead-end." [ [http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/artikkel.php?artid=532410 Norge fordømmer Khartoum-angrep] - VG Nett 2008-05-11 no icon] Norway was earlier this week the host of the UN and World Bank donor conference for Sudan. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article27038 Oslo donors pledge around $5 billion to Sudan] - "Sudan Tribune" 2008-05-08]


ee also

*Battle of N'Djamena (2006) and Battle of N'Djamena (2008): similar attacks on the Chadian capital.

External links

* [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/05/13/sudan18812.htm Sudan: Mass Arrests After Rebel Attack Raise Concern] , Human Rights Watch (May 12, 2008)

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