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December 24, 2011

Sudan Reports Death of Darfur Rebel Group Leader

The Sudanese army says it has killed the leader of the main rebel group in the war-torn Darfur region.

A statement released by Sudan's official news agency on Sunday says Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), was killed in fighting near Wad Banda in North Kordofan state.  

The army also claimed 30 members of Ibrahim's movement were killed in the clashes that broke out late last week in North Kordofan.

The Netherlands-based independent Radio Dabanga, which broadcasts in Darfur, said Ibrahim's family has confirmed his death.  The station reported the family received a call from the field reporting Ibrahim died on Saturday.

The Sudanese army accused rebel fighters of attacking civilians in three areas.  The Sudan Tribune newspaper says a JEM spokesman dismissed the accusation as false.

On Thursday, the JEM said its forces have begun advancing toward the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, with the goal of toppling President Omar al-Bashir.

JEM attacked the capital and its twin city Omdurman in May 2008.  More than 200 people were killed before government forces repulsed the attack.

Darfur rebel groups launched an uprising against the government in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their region.

President Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes against civilians in the region.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.