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Deadly shooting breaks out in tense border capital

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-07

Fighting between northern and southern soldiers in the volatile Sudanese state of Kordofan left six people dead and thousands in hiding Tuesday, forcing UN forces in the state capital to suspend their operations.

AFP – Fighting between elements of Sudan's northern and southern armies in Kadugli, capital of volatile South Kordofan state, has killed six people and forced UN agencies to suspend operations in the town, UN sources said on Tuesday.     

"There has been continued gunshots heard in the town itself today... The fighting is between elements from the SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces -- the northern army) and the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army -- the southern army)," Hua Jiang, spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), told AFP.
             
"At one of the hospitals we visited, we saw six dead bodies, four of whom were government of Sudan police, and the other two civilians... Earlier we saw about 3,000 people taking refuge at the Kadugli police hospital," she added.
             
A UN source in Kadugli said that, since Monday, all UN agencies had suspended their operations in the state capital, where the United Nations has a large presence, and withdrawn to the UNMIS peacekeeping base near the airport.
             
"Now the situation is a little bit calm, but at any time it can flare up," the source said, speaking on condition of anoymity.
             
Tensions are escalating in South Kordofan, the north's only oil-producing state, which borders the south and was a key battleground during the 1983-2005 conflict.
             
The state is awash with weapons and retains strong links to the south, especially among the indigenous Nuba peoples, who fought on the side of the southern rebels even though their homeland lies in the north.
             
"The fighters in the SPLA are largely from the Nuba Mountains. Their cause is very far removed from Juba and the independence of the south," said a Western analyst based in the southern regional capital, speaking on condition of anonymity.
 

Date created : 2011-06-07

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