'Heavy Fighting' in Strategic Sudan Border Town
[An Nahar] Heavy fighting
... as opposed to the more usual name-calling or slapsy...
has occurred between government and rebel forces in a strategic Sudanese border town, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday, giving the first independent confirmation of the key battle.

The fight for El Kurmuk -- which Sudan's army has denied -- is the most serious for more than a year in Blue Nile state, which has been largely sealed from the outside world.

"There has been heavy fighting since the start of this week," said the source, who cannot be identified.

Rebels claimed on Sunday to have pushed into Kurmuk's southwest.

Kurmuk, an important trading center on the Æthiopian border, is the third-largest town in Blue Nile and has been in government hands since November 2011.

Sudan's government severely restricts access to Blue Nile and South Kordofan, two states where the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North have been fighting since 2011.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing the SPLM-N but the South denies involvement.

Posted by: Fred 2013-02-27