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Sudanese Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed has said that the Darfur region is largely calm, despite tribal and other unrest which according to the UN forced almost 90,000 people to flee this month.
"The minister has affirmed (the) calmness of conditions in all Darfur states, except some looting operations carried out by the rebel movements", and attacks on commercial convoys, Hamed said, according to remarks published Thursday by the official SUNA news agency.
His comments came just before rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army's Abdel Wahid Mohammed al-Nur faction claimed to have defeated government troops and occupied Shataya, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of the South Darfur state capital Nyala.
Sudan's army spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
After rebel attacks and "possible" air strikes reported by peacekeepers in the Muhagiriya area of southern Darfur earlier this month, the UN said about 36,000 people sought protection around bases of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
A rare 10-day rebel occupation of the area ended on Wednesday when the Sudanese army announced it "liberated" Muhagiriya but the insurgents, another faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, said they withdrew in the face of massive force.
Separately, at least 50,000 people fled in early April from southwestern Darfur, the United Nations said, after fighting between Salamat and Misseriya tribes.
Vice President Ali Osman Taha on Sunday warned over insecurity in South Darfur.
At a conference in the Gulf state of Qatar last week, Canada said security in Darfur has "worsened."
Although violence continues, UN officials say parts of Darfur are "relatively stable" and offer good opportunities for rebuilding after a decade of war.