Sudan war zone football pitch readied for regional cup

An African football official said Sunday he was unaware that deadly shelling had struck near a ground in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan being readied for a regional tournament.

The Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Kagame Club Cup is to take place in Kadugli, South Kordofan's capital.

The town is co-hosting the two-week competition with El Fasher, in Sudan's impoverished and conflict-plagued Darfur region.

Sudanese rebels on Saturday said they had shelled Kadugli the previous day as they were "advancing" from the west of the town.

"I've not heard of that," CECAFA media officer Rogers Mulindwa told AFP, asked about the incident. "We have not received that information at CECAFA."

Mulindwa, who arrived in Sudan on Friday, said the Sudanese government had written letters "assuring us of (the) security of this tournament."

Rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) said they were targeting a Sudanese military facility. But some shells landed inside a United Nations peacekeeping base, killing a one soldier and wounding two others.

Local residents said the base is near the CECAFA stadium.

The tournament partly sponsored by the states of South Kordofan and North Darfur will go ahead as planned, CECAFA says.

"We have flown the technical people to do the marking of the ground" in Kadugli, Mulindwa said. "They went today."