There were similar rumors a few months back, but many travelers reported the border open. However the situation in Darfur seems to remain somewhat tense:
The Khartoum Monitor ( www.khartoummonitor.com
), 6th March 2003
Darfur rebels besieged in mountains in Western Sudan; Security
Staff Writer Khartoum
A senior official in Sudan's Security organ said on Wednesday that the security forces have not yet taken a decision to flush out the group of people who have rebelled in Jebel Marra in Southern Darfur State on the border with Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.
Major General Mohamed Atta, the deputy director of the National Security Organ told a news briefing in Khartoum that the group seized three police stations, abducted citizens including citizens of the area such as the engineer of Jebel Marra Agricultural project, Ahmed Yousif who was killed last month.
"This is a group of criminals who have recruited other criminals such as armed robbers into its ranks," Atta said.
He said the group has abducted some citizens in the area who are now leading a life of misery. "The group is besieged at Jebel Marra and we will have to deal with it to save the lives of the citizens in the area," Atta said.
He said the group does not belong directly to any political party, nor to any specific tribe.
"Its opposition is not directed against the government but against all, including innocent citizens," Atta said.
According to the Security Chief the government has sent delegations to all the tribes in Darfur including the group that has taken up arms, with the aim of settling the problem of Darfur politically. He said the political solution and dialogue will continue to be sought but a military solution will not be ruled out. Atta said Darfur, like other areas in the margins of Sudan suffers from problems of under development and lack of services. "These problems will take some years to resolve," he said.
Desertification has caused a severe shortage of water and pasture in Darfur and the conflict there is seen by many people as rivalry over scarce natural resources. Major General Atta said the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has been trying to benefit from the problems in Darfur. He gave no details.
The rebel group in Jebel Marra calls itself the Darfur Liberation Front (DLF). Not much is however known about its leadership except that it is led by a lawyer called Abdel Gadir Nur who used to belong to the communist party.