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Sudan's army seizes back town from rebels in oil state

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has seized back a town from rebels who took it a month ago, the government said on Monday as it continued a push against insurgents it says are backed by South Sudan.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), an umbrella of rebel groups that launched an assault on several towns late in April, confirmed it had withdrawn from the town, Abu Kershola, saying it had done so to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.

In April, the rebels, who aim to topple President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, briefly occupied Um Rawaba, a major city in central Sudan, before withdrawing. They held on to Abu Kershola, in neighboring South Kordofan, home to most oil production in Sudan.

"Thank God, Abu Kershola has been liberated," Defence Minister Abdel Raheem Mohammed Hussein said on state television.

Abu Kershola lies at the northeastern tip of South Kordofan, close to White Nile state, home to the country's main Nile river port and sugar industry.

The attack on Um Rawaba was the boldest rebel attack since they attacked Khartoum in 2008.

The violence has strained relations with South Sudan. The two nations came close to an all-out war in April 2012 and have struggled to put an end to tensions that have plagued them since the South seceded in 2011.

The rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile sided with the South during the war but were left in Sudan after the partition.

In March, the two countries struck a deal to resume cross border oil flows, but mutual mistrust remains deep.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130527/sudans-army-seizes-back-town-rebels-oil-state