Sudan's Ruling Party says Force Will be Used to Smash Rebels in West, 03/27/03

Sudan's ruling party says force will be used to smash rebels in west

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Mar 27, 2003 (AP) -- Sudan's ruling National Congress party decided Thursday to use force to end a month of rebellion in the western Sudan province of Darfur, bordering Chad, according to Sudan's official news agency, SUNA.

"We have come to the view that these events have to be dealt with in a decisive and strong manner," SUNA quoted the secretary general of the National Congress, Ibrahim Ahmed Omar, as saying following a meeting of the party's political committee.

First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, who chaired the meeting, also referred to "the importance of military action to confront the repercussions of the armed robbery in Darfur states," SUNA said.

The meeting came one day after the killing of two government soldiers in Darfur, 1,800 kilometers west of the capital Khartoum, the independent Rai al-A'am newspaper reported Thursday.

Last month, a group calling itself the Darfur Liberation Front attacked government units in the Jabal Mara mountains and asked the government for the right of self-determination.

Omar rejected such demands, and was quoted by SUNA as saying, "the sons of this region are for the unity of Sudan. But some foreign and political groups are trying to use these armed groups for their own vested interests."

Tribes have been fighting each other for years in Darfur, a province that is home to a fifth of Sudan's 30 million people and one of the least developed. It is particularly vulnerable to the droughts and famines that periodically afflict Sudan.

The clashes are believed to have begun as tribes competed for grazing land, and are not linked to the civil war in the south and east of Sudan.

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