Sudan border fighting displaces over 400,000 people: U.N.

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 10:59 AM
Sudan border fighting displaces over 400,000 people: U.N.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - About 417,000 people have been displaced in Sudan's border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile as a result of ongoing fighting between the army and insurgents, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Fighting broke out between Sudan's army and SPLM-North rebels in June in South Kordofan which borders newly-independent South Sudan. Violence spread to the neighboring northern border state of Blue Nile in September.

About 82,000 people have fled both northern states to South Sudan or Ethiopia to escape fighting, U.N. officials told reporters in the capital Khartoum. Some 35,000 people from South Kordofan have fled to Khartoum to stay mostly with relatives.

The humanitarian situation was deteriorating, especially in areas controlled by the SPLM-North, as U.N. and aid agencies were still being denied access, said Peter de Clerq, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

"We have made many interventions with the government in terms of going back to South Kordofan and Blue Nile, so far we have not yet been successful in accomplishing that," he said.

"We are in no position to verify the actual needs on the ground as we are simply not there...we have little information," he said.

Sudan said it would continue to deny access, citing security reasons.

"The government cannot allow NGOs to these areas at least this time because the government cannot guarantee their safety. Still there is fighting...there is kidnapping," said Mohammed Fadlallah, acting commissioner of the official Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

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He said Sudanese aid agencies were providing aid in government-controlled areas to where some displaced persons had been returning.

North and South Sudan regular trade accusations of supporting insurgencies on each other's territory. Their armed forces clashed at Jau in a region claimed by both sides last week in a rare direct confrontation.

The two countries are already holding tense talks over issues such as oil and debt that have been unresolved since South Sudan seceded in July.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Matthew Jones)