Around 13 Sudanese policemen were killed and 33 injured in clashes with armed groups in the troubled region of Darfur, said officials.
“13 policemen were killed and 33 injured in Jebel Marra in South Darfur Thursday night,” said a police spokesman. “I don’t have any more details now.”
The governor of South Darfur, Abdel Hamid Kasha, told Reuters that police had been trying to free three soldiers taken hostage by unknown armed groups when clashes erupted, adding that details were unclear, Reuters reports.
Kasha denied a report by Sudanese daily al-Ahdath that one of the hostages was 34-year old Italian aid worker Francesco Azzara who was abducted in South Darfur by an armed group last month.
“The Italian is another case,” Kasha said.
A counter-insurgency campaign against non-Arab rebels in Darfur in 2003 sparked a humanitarian crisis in the western Sudan region in which more than two million people have fled their homes, according to the United Nations.
Violence has ebbed from its peak in 2003-2004 but analysts say there is no end in sight to the conflict because of divisions among the rebels.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.