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Publisher Says Sudanese Rebel Attack Has Psychological Value


Human rights workers say they are worried about the possible mistreatment and torture of those detained since the weekend attack near the capital, Khartoum. But the government says anyone involved in it will receive a fair military trial.

The state media say at least 300 people have been arrested on suspicion of backing the Darfur rebels, but many believed the true figure is much higher. The weekend raid on Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city across the River Nile, was the closest that Darfur's rebel groups had come to the capital in five years of conflict. Milton Almadi is the publisher of the Blackstarnews, published in New York City.

He says the rebel attack bring a disturbing dimension to the crisis in the region. “Well, I think it obviously caught many people by surprise that an insurgent force could make it all the way to the capital city of Khartoum and cause the havoc that we’ve seen in the last few days, although reports coming from there indicate the government has been able to secure the city now, as well as Omdurman, which the rebels have claimed earlier on to have captured.”

Almadi says the attack carried no significant military value. “I would believe that perhaps it’s more psychological because I would be surprised that they would be able to secure the entire country and overthrow the government, taking the capital. The Sudan does have a very sizeable army, it’s very well equipped, it’s been engaged in long war with southern Sudanese for several years, so I do not think the government of Sudan would collapse easily.”

Almadi says sees a possible problem with the government’s arrests of opposition members, alleging they conspired with the rebels. “It could be counter-productive in many respects because there are multiple conflicts that are ongoing in the Sudan. The treaty with the southern Sudan to end the long war that has practically gone on 15 years is shaky.”

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