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SUDAN - July 7 - Security Chiefs Meet After Rebel Advance.

The security and defence councils hold a rare joint meeting a day after rebels claimed to have taken a strategic southern town. 'SUNA' says Pres. Bashir had presided over a meeting, on July 6, of the security and national defence chiefs at which undisclosed security measures were taken. It adds: "The meeting discussed the security situation in all axes and states and was assured the situation was calm". On July 5, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) announced it had captured Mabaan, in the Upper Nile region, about 550 km south of Khartoum. The government has not commented on the claim.

SPLA spokesman Justin Yaac said a 1,500-strong SPLA force had taken Mabaan after a 12-hour battle with government troops. He said the troops had been raiding nearby villages. Mabaan is a significant gain for the SPLA because it straddles the boundary between north and south Sudan and reportedly gives the rebels control of routes to the key Nile valley towns of Ulu and Renk and to oilfields north of Malakal. (The SPLA has fought successive Islamism governments in Khartoum since 1983 to try to win autonomy for the mainly Christian and animist south.) Aid organisations have warned that a flare-up fighting between rebels and the army in southern Sudan could lead to a further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal, another war-ravaged region in the area.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jul 8, 2000
Words:234
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