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Sudan Says Darfur Rebel Leader Dead

Sudan's armed forces say they have killed the leader of what's believed to be the western Darfur region's most powerful rebel group.

A spokesman for the army said Khalil Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement, died in a clash with Sudanese forces. The report could not be immediately or independently confirmed.

The reported death of the commander came after the Justice and Equality Movement last week announced that its forces had begun to advance from Darfur eastward toward the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The group -- considered to be Sudan's most powerful rebel group in terms of military strength -- has refused to sign a Qatar-brokered peace agreement between Sudan's government and other rebel groups.

Mainly non-Arab insurgents in Darfur began to battle the Arab-dominated government in 2003, claiming the central government had neglected the remote region and was favoring local Arab tribes.

compiled from agency reports

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