Thousands of civilians are fleeing to El Fasher because:
Clashes in West Sudan Kill 30 Rebels
KHARTOUM, Sudan - About 30 rebels and an undisclosed number of government troops were killed during fighting in western Sudan near the border with Chad, a senior government official was quoted as saying Saturday.
Sudanese officials said government troops on Friday repulsed an attack by forces from the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, a little-known group operating in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
The governor of North Darfur state, Osman Mohamed Yusuf Kibir, also rejected rebel claims the group overran the town of Tinah, about 560 miles west of Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
Kibir said Sudanese soldiers killed 30 rebels and arrested 12 others, according to a report carried by Sudan's official news agency.
"Our gallant troops countered an attack by the rebels inflicting heavy material and human loss on them," he reportedly said.
Kibir said government soldiers chased and killed some rebels who fled into Chad. An undisclosed number of Sudanese troops also died during the fighting.
Darfur is a multiethnic region on the border with Chad with some 80 tribes and ethnic groups divided between nomads of Arab origin and farmers of African origin.
The region has witnessed cycles of drought and desert creep since the late 1980s, which has shrunk its vast grazing areas and spurred friction among nomads and farmers.
Sudan - Africa's largest country - is wracked by civil conflict in other parts of the country, particularly the south where government forces have been clashing with rebels since 1983. That conflict has left more than 2 million people dead through fighting and related famine.
Jul. 12, 2003