Sudan’s army on Thursday denied accusations it attacked a Darfur rebel group a day after the country signed a goodwill agreement with the movement.

Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said government forces and allied militias launched air and ground attacks on two of their positions on Wednesday, killing at least four civilians in the bombardment.

The reports came a day after JEM and Sudan’s government signed an unprecedented deal in Qatar, promising a prisoner exchange and other confidence-building measures to pave the way to peace talks.

The deal was sealed amid mounting tension in Africa’s largest country ahead of a decision by judges from the International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur.

Sudan’s armed forces released a short statement to state media dismissing the reports of attacks as “unfounded allegations”.

“There were no clashes between the army and the Justice and Equality Movement in the eastern Jabel Marra as was reported on Wednesday,” the statement from the Sudanese Media Centre said.

The army added the ground clashes with JEM reported in North Darfur had involved troops loyal to Minni Arcua Minnawi, the only Darfur rebel leader to sign a peace deal with the government in 2006.



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