Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

Updated 24 November 2012
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Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

KHARTOUM: Sudanese rebels have seized an army compound in the Darfur region, the insurgents said on Saturday, after peacekeepers expressed concern over escalating violence.
The pre-dawn attack happened on Friday about five kilometers northeast of Kebkabiya in North Darfur state, said Ibrahim Al-Hillu, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army’s Abdelwahid Nur faction.
“We captured the compound and all the equipment inside, with five on our side wounded,” he told AFP from his base in France.
Hillu added that the rebels then repulsed a government counter-attack and are now “counting their bodies.”
Sudan’s army spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Kebkabiya is about 150 kilometers west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state where violence has surged.
Earlier this month, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said “escalating violence has become a matter of grave concern.”
Since July, civilians have been increasingly at risk from inter-communal fighting, harassment by militia groups and sporadic clashes between rebels and government troops, particularly in North Darfur, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in October.
The Nur faction has several hundred combatants and a “sphere of influence” limited to the mountainous Jebel Marra area, south of Kebkabiya, said a July report by the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.
The fertile Jebel Marra is home to the non-Arab Fur people who gave their name to Darfur (Land of the Fur).
Government military operations and air attacks have regularly targeted the area, the Small Arms Survey said.
Government forces are now massing for a new attack on eastern Jebel Marra, according to Hillu.
Although down from its peak, violence persists in Darfur nine years after Nur and other ethnic minority rebels rose against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government, which they want to overthrow.
Impoverished Darfur is also dealing with a rare outbreak of yellow fever that health officials say is suspected of killing 127 people in the region since early September.


Pakistani court convicts ex-lawmaker for substance misuse

Hanif Abbasi. (AP)
Updated 27 min 20 sec ago
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Pakistani court convicts ex-lawmaker for substance misuse

  • The Anti-Narcotics Force had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June 2012

ISLAMABAD: A court convicted a former lawmaker and candidate for the national assembly Saturday giving him a life sentence for the misuse of a controlled substance he obtained for his pharmaceutical company.
Hanif Abbasi, a leader of the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-N, was immediately arrested following the hearing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi after Judge Mohammad Akram Khan announced the verdict in late session.
Abbasi, the two-time lawmaker who is contesting the upcoming election from Rawalpindi, was accused of misusing 500kg of ephedrine, which he obtained for his company, Gray’s Pharmaceuticals, in 2010.
The Anti-Narcotics Force had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June 2012. ANF officials claimed the substance was sold to narcotics smugglers who used it to make drugs for partying.
Earlier in the day, an independent candidate for parliament shot himself to death after his sons disagreed with his politics.
Officer Ishfaq Khan said that Mohammad Ahmed Mughal was running for office in both the national and provincial assemblies from the central city of Faisalabad.
He said Mughal faced opposition at home as his sons supported candidates from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League for both seats.
Under Pakistan’s election laws, both elections in which Mughal was a candidate will be postponed and the process will start again after the regular July 25 elections.