Khartoum - A Sudanese policeman was killed in a shootout with gangsters in the North Darfur capital El Fasher on Tuesday, the governor said, in the latest sign of growing lawlessness in his state.
"A police patrol following a suspect in the town's east end came under fire from criminals. An exchange of fire ensued," Governor Osman Kbir told Sudanese television.
One lawman was killed along with a suspect, Kbir said, adding several other suspects were wounded and one arrested.
"Things in the town have returned to normal," he said.
A medical source at the hospital in El Fasher earlier told AFP that a dead policeman was brought in with two wounded colleagues.
"There was shooting in the eastern El Fasher market area, between police and gangsters," a resident said.
Another local source said an exchange of fire apparently occurred between security forces and a drug gang.
Kbir himself survived an ambush on Saturday during a visit to a town north of El Fasher briefly seized by rebels, a source familiar with the incident said.
Worsening tribal clashes
In state-linked media, Kbir has denied the ambush.
Since late February, rebels have also attacked an area in the southeast corner of Kbir's state, while another uprising erupted in the far west, where local sources said militia loyal to Musa Hilal took control of Saraf Omra town.
School officials in North Darfur on Tuesday announced a delay of more than three weeks in scheduled examinations, blaming the security situation.
Rebel-government battles are no longer the main source of violence in Darfur, where insurgents from ethnic minority groups launched an uprising against the country's Arab elites in 2003.
Over the past two years, Sudan's deteriorating economy has led to worsening crime and escalating tribal clashes, a February report by UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.