KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Rebels from the Darfur region in Sudan on Saturday attacked a town in a neighboring state about 300 miles southwest of Khartoum, the capital, in one of their boldest offensives in years.
Fighters with the Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM, attacked the town of Umm Ruwaba in North Kordofan State, which lies between Darfur to the west and Khartoum to the northeast, on Saturday. The assault is a rare venture outside Darfur and South Kordofan State for the rebels.
"Our forces are controlling parts of eastern North Kordofan and Umm Ruwaba," a rebel spokesman, Gibril Adam, told Reuters on Saturday.
JEM is a member of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a rebel alliance that seeks to topple the central government led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. In May 2008, JEM staged a daring attack on Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city across the Nile, but its fighters were pushed back by government forces.
Sudan's army said Saturday that government troops had clashed with the rebels in Umm Ruwaba and that "battles are still going on."
The rebels said the road between Khartoum and El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, was closed, but the state-run Sudan Radio said the road had been reopened. Residents told Sudan Radio that the rebels had destroyed a telecommunications tower and an electrical power station.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.