Bishop Reports Critical Situation at Sudan Border

KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, JUNE 17, 2011 ( A Sudanese bishop is warning of a new genocide in Sudan, as people in the border region of South Kordofan are fleeing for safety.

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Just weeks before Southern Sudan is set to separate from its northern neighbor, the border region between them is a hotbed of conflict.

Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid spoke to the Germany headquarters of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need on Wednesday. He said thousands are in flight in the border state of South Kordofan, where he reported that the situation «is extremely critical, especially in the capital Kadugli.»

Among those hardest hit are the Nuba people, both Muslims and Christians, Bishop Gassis explained. The region of South Kordofan forms part of the bishop’s diocese of El Obeid, which lies predominantly in the northern half of Sudan.

The conflict in South Kordofan goes back to the beginning of this month, when Kadugli was attacked by the north’s army; one Protestant pastor was killed.

On Thursday, the north Sudanese army and the south Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) entered into negotiations.

South Kordofan, together with Abyei and Blue Nile, is one of three frontier regions between North and South whose status has still not been settled. In the referendum in January, the south of Sudan voted by an overwhelming majority for independence from the north and will now officially become an independent nation July 9.

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