Darfuri rebels and Sudanese armed forces are trading accusations on violent clashes that erupted near the Sudan-Chad border late last week. The fighting has reportedly sent injured rebels streaming into eastern Chad from war-torn Darfur.
The Sudanese army has denied that it was preparing to attack a rebel base in the Kari Yari region, along the porous Sudan-Chad border.
An armed forces spokesman said Monday that the Sudanese army was attempting to repel a rebel attack that began late Saturday.
Colonel Mohamed Osman also denied reports that rebels had captured members of the Sudan armed forces.
"The rebellion attacked us in that place, Kari Yari, and the army of the Sudan tried to deal with the rebellion but they said that we attacked them," Osman said. "That is not right. The army was attacked by the rebellion."
The rebels, however, tell a different story.
Jar Al Naby, a commander with the Sudan Liberation Army, which has aligned with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement under the umbrella of the National Redemption Front, says the fighting was sparked by reports that Sudan government forces were preparing to attack the rebel base.
Al Naby spoke by satellite phone from the Chadian border, late Sunday night.
"Our intelligence knows that the government troops are preparing to attack us. For that, we attacked their camp yesterday evening," Al Naby said.
Dozens of wounded fighters from both sides apparently have fled into Chad seeking help.
Violence has skyrocketed in Darfur since the signing of a May 5 peace agreement between one rebel faction and the Sudanese government.
Other rebel factions refused to sign onto the deal, claiming it did not meet their demands.
In late August the Sudanese government launched a ground offensive against holdout rebels in Darfur.
The Darfur conflict has spilled over, with hundreds of thousands of displaced Darfuris taking shelter in remote eastern Chad.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the Darfur conflict and more than two million have been forced to flee their homes for squalid refugee camps.