Govt bombs, attacks Darfur peace partner -rebels

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KHARTOUM, Oct 8 (Reuters) Government troops and militia have attacked a town belonging to the only Darfur rebel faction to sign a 2006 peace deal with them, the faction said today.

''Government planes have attacked Muhajiriya, which belongs to us, and government forces and Janjaweed militia are fighting our forces,'' said Khalid Abakar, a senior representative from the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

Abakar is from the SLA faction led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, the only one of three rebel negotiating factions to sign a May 2006 peace deal with Khartoum. The movement then became part of the government and controls Muhajiriya town in South Darfur.

Abakar said the area was still seeing heavy fighting.

A Darfur commander from a rival SLA faction, which did not sign the deal, confirmed the attack.

''Right now the government is bombing Muhajiriya heavily,'' said Abu Bakr Kadu of the SLA Unity faction.

''They have moved militia and government forces there,'' he added.

Kadu said the government was also massing troops near Tine, on the border with Chad, in preparation for an offensive on rebel-controlled areas in North Darfur.

''It's clear that as everyone else is preparing for peace talks, the government is still implementing its military solution,'' he told Reuters by satellite phone from Darfur.

The ongoing fighting in Darfur has cast doubts over the success of peace talks due to start in Libya on Oct. 27.

REUTERS PD HT1840

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