Sudanese rebels claimed to have killed at least 30 government troops including three army commanders during a six-hour battle in eastern Sudan.
The battle in Rissai, near the border with Eritrea, left "heavy casualties" Thursday with 30 government soldiers killed, according to an initial tally, General Abdel Rahman Said of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said in a statement faxed to AFP in Cairo.
Five vehicles were also destroyed during the battle, which began shortly after noon on Thursday, he said without giving a figure for rebel casualties.
Among those killed were the commanders of three Sudanese forces -- the Eastern Cavalry force, the Martyr Hashim force and a tank corps -- the NDA statement said.
Sudan's civil war between the Arab Islamic government and mainly Christian and animist rebels in the south has been raging for 17 years. Northern opposition groups joined the fighting in 1995.
The NDA is an umbrella organization grouping southern and northern Sudanese opposition factions.
"Our information tells us that the (government) Islamic Front forces are using various oppressive measures to push troops and students to the battlefield," Said, the NDA military spokesman, said.
He called for support "to put an end to the war and resist the regime's plans to sacrifice the young people of our land in the flames of war." – CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)