Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Seventeen people were killed and 14 others injured in clashes between the Sudanese Army and rebels in Southern Kordofan State, the state-run SUNA news agency reported today.
Fighting broke out late yesterday in the country’s main oil-producing state, according to SUNA, one day after government forces and members of the northern branch of the ruling party in neighboring South Sudan clashed in the capital of Blue Nile state.
The governor of Blue Nile state was fired yesterday as the Sudanese president Umar al-Bashir declared a state of emergency in the capital after fighting broke out, SUNA reported late yesterday.
Sudan’s government has been trying to disarm members of the SPLM-N in the border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan who fought with the forces of South Sudan during the two-decade civil war that ended in 2005. South Sudan gained independence on July 9. Sudanese government soldiers have clashed with SPLM-N fighters since June 5 in Southern Kordofan.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in an Aug. 30 statement that the government continued to bomb civilian areas in Southern Kordofan after the declaration of the cease- fire.
“Now the real aim behind the cease-fire in Southern Kordofan was uncovered: just paving the political and military situation for attacks on Blue Nile,” Yasser Arman, the SPLM-N secretary-general, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
Under a 2005 peace accord, the northern and southern armies were due to jointly patrol Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the northern side of the border and the disputed region of Abyei.
Sudan’s army said on May 30 it may attack any remaining Southern Sudan troops in the northern border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, heightening tension before the south’s independence in July.
Southern Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar said on May 31 that his northern counterpart, Ali Osman Taha, and al-Bashir rejected a request by Southern Sudan’s government for United Nations peacekeepers to stay in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei after the south’s independence “in case things get out of hand.”
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