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The incident adds to growing concern over delays in implementing security and oil deals which the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan hailed in September as ending conflict, after they fought along their undemarcated border in March and April.

Mr. Saad alleged that the rebels must have had “great support” from South Sudan.

“We confirm that we conducted our battle deep inside Sudan,” the army spokesman said.


French citizen kidnapped in southwest Mali

PARIS | A French citizen has been kidnapped in southwest Mali, far from the zone controlled by al Qaeda-linked militants where African countries are preparing a possible military intervention, officials said Wednesday.

The kidnapping brings to seven the number of French citizens being held in the West African nation that is effectively divided in two, with radical Islamists and native Touareg rebels in control of the north.

Northern Mali fell to Islamist extremists in April, after coup leaders toppled the government in Bamako, Mali’s capital.

France has been a driving force behind an initiative taking shape for a potential military intervention by Mali’s army, perhaps bolstered by other African troops, to drive the Islamists from power.

France, a former colonial power in West Africa that still has a military presence in the region, fears that northern Mali could become a new base for a jihad, destabilizing Africa’s Sahel region and ultimately threatening Europe.

“I confirm that there was a kidnapping of a French citizen in southwest Mali not in the part where there is the most danger,” French President Francois Hollande said at a news conference Wednesday, without elaborating.

There was some confusion over the exact location of the kidnapping Tuesday evening.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said it took place in Nioro, a town just across the border from Mauritania. But a Malian police official said armed men kidnapped the Frenchman in the town of Diema, not far from Bamako.


3 arrested, charged with rhino poaching

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