September 21, 2011 / 5:40 PM / 8 years ago

Sudan says seizes strategic city in Blue Nile, rebels deny

CAIRO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Sudan government forces have seized control of a strategic city in Blue Nile state after fighting with rebels allied with South Sudan, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

A rebel spokesman denied the report and said the Dindiro area was still under the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) control.

Sudanese army spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid said government forces “liberated” the city of Dindidiro, located some 100 km (65 miles) south of the state capital al-Damazin.

“The army, a short while ago and after a fierce battle, managed to seize control of the city of Dindiro and liberate it from the SPLM forces in the Blue Nile state,” Khalid saideuters.

Analysts say the fighting with the rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states fighting risks drawing the newly independent South Sudan into a proxy war.

The Sudanese government has accused the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of being behind the violence. The SPLM-North, the movement’s branch in Sudan, has blamed Khartoum.

Sudan and South Sudan signed a border security agreement on Sunday, making a step towards improving ties after tensions over border violence and sharing oil revenues.

Khalid said the Sudanese army has seized five tanks and five other military vehicles in the battle. But an SPLM spokesman said the fighting has been taking place in a mountain region some 20 kms (12 miles) away from Dindiro.

Dindiro, a rugged mountainous area, controls access to the al-Kurmuk, traditional stronghold for the SPLM and its military wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum; Writing by Sami Aboudi

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