South Darfur Governor Orders Night Curfew in State Capital, 04/26/03

South Darfur governor orders night curfew in state capital

KHARTOUM, April 26 (AFP) -- The governor of Sudan's South Darfur state has imposed a night curfew on the state's capital Nyala following an attack by rebel gunmen on al-Fasher, capital of the twin North Darfur state, a press report said here Saturday.

The official Al-Anbaa daily said Adam Hamid Mussa, South Darfur's governor general, ordered a curfew from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am (1900-0400 GMT) starting late Friday, to prevent what had happened in al-Fasher.

Mussa also ordered all members of the army, police and security forces to "immediately report to their units," the newspaper said.

The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) said Friday it had seized al-Fasher, but Khartoum rejected the claim, saying its forces had beaten back the rebel attack.

The interior ministry said on Saturday that the situation in al-Fasher has returned to normal and that it was willing to fly journalists there for confirmation.

The SLA -- previously known as the Darfur Liberation Front -- was first reported active in the region in February after it captured the town of Gulu.

On March 14, it published a declaration calling for the establishment of a united democratic Sudan through armed struggle, charging the Darfur region had long suffered from neglect and policies of ethnic cleansing against African tribes.

But the group denies seeking independence like rebels in southern Sudan. Instead, it says it wants a role in government and a share of the country's resources.

Darfur, one of the most arid and isolated regions in Sudan, has been the scene of tribal clashes and bandit raids for years. It is not included in the framework of peace talks aimed at ending Khartoum's 20-year-old civil war with the Sudan People's Liberation Army.