Armed militias ambushed a band of rebel fighters in southern Darfur, sparking a gun battle that left at least 11 people dead, insurgents said Sunday.
The reports of fresh fighting in Darfur came at a sensitive time for Khartoum, which has been stepping up diplomatic attempts to thwart efforts to issue an arrest warrant against Sudan’s president on war crimes charges.
Leaders of two rebel factions said the militias involved in the fighting were part of a buildup of fighters around the town of Muhajiriya, a previous hot spot in the Darfur conflict. Rebels accused Sudan’s government of backing the militias, saying Khartoum wanted to “spread chaos” in the region.
But international aid sources in the area said it was unclear who was supporting the militia force.
The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur confirmed there had been fighting but said it was unclear who was involved.
More than 45 people were killed during an attack on Muhajiriya last October.