'Dozens killed' as Sudan's army and rebels clash

Rebel fighters in Darfur. File photo Darfur rebels say they forced Sudan's army out of a village

Sudan's army and rebels say they have clashed on two fronts, reportedly leaving dozens of people dead.

The army says it killed 32 insurgents who attacked a village in the western Darfur region. The rebels claim they drove government troops out.

Separately, Khartoum says 45 rebels were killed in a village in South Kordofan, near South Sudan's border.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels said they liberated the village, killing at least one soldier.

Casualty claims in the fighting, which happened on Thursday, have not been independently verified because of restricted access to both Darfur and South Kordofan.

Last year, rebel groups in the two states and also in Blue Nile state formed an alliance with the aim of toppling the government of President Omar al-Bashir.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing the insurgents.

The government in Juba denies the charge, in turn blaming its northern neighbour of backing rebel groups in the South.

The latest fighting comes as the US has warned of an "outright conflict" between Sudan and South Sudan over a prolonged border dispute.

The comments were made on by the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, following a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue.

South Sudan has accepted a border roadmap proposed by the African Union, but Sudan is refusing to do so.

The original 2 August deadline set by the UN failed to produce an agreement. However, both sides are being kept under pressure to clinch a deal by a new deadline - 22 September.

Sudan and South Sudan came close to an all-out war this year over the disputed border and oil revenues.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan last year, ending decades of fighting between the mainly Muslim north and Christian and animist south.

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