Aid Group: No Real Ceasefire at Sudan Border

Violence Continues in Disputed South Kordofan

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JUBA, South Sudan, SEPT. 2, 2011 ( A Catholic charity says military strikes are continuing in a disputed area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, regardless of a supposed ceasefire.

The region of South Kordofan was the site of violence prior to the July 9 independence of South Sudan. According to Aid to the Church in Need, that violence has continued.

Sources in the Nuba Mountains told the charity group that the government in Khartoum has continued military operations — despite President Omer Al-Bashir’s claims that an Aug. 23 ceasefire has restored calm in the region.

Military spokesman Alsoarmi Khaled issued a statement Wednesday denying claims by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that air strikes have continued.

But, reports passed to ACN by John Ashworth of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum revealed ongoing fighting in the region, including aerial attacks.

Bombing raids have killed at least 26, injured at least 46 and caused up to 150,000 to flee their homes, the charity reported. It added that fighting is also leading to a shortage of food in the region.

The Khartoum government accused South Sudan of providing support to rebel groups in South Kordofan and Darfur and lodged an official complaint with the U.N. Security Council.

Responding to these claims, South Sudan’s information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told Reuters: «Khartoum is trying to set up a smokescreen to cover up Security Council concerns that they are bombing civilians in South Kordofan. …

«[The government of Sudan] has failed to bring peace to Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They are looking for a scapegoat and blaming the South.»

According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, a consultation process was to take place in South Kordofan in 2011 to determine the future of the state.

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