KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Sudanese rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed in a firefight with the army Sunday, military leaders in Khartoum said.
Ibriham, 53, and an unreported number of followers led the military on a chase that ended with his death in an air raid, the Sudan Tribune reported.
He was the leader of Darfur's Islamist militant Justice and Equality Movement, which he founded in 2003. In May 2010, he left for exile in Libya but returned a year later when Moammar Gadhafi's regime was in the midst of upheaval and collapse.
Ibrahim's group is considered one of the largest rebel groups in the ethnically divided Darfur region. Since 2003, the United Nations has estimated at least 300,000 people have been killed in tribal fighting and some 2.7 million others have fled their homes.
Sudan divided into two countries in July, with predominantly Muslims in the north and a mix of Christians and animists in the new country of South Sudan.