Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sudan: 60,000 displaced in South Kordofan, UN says

Some 60,000 people have fled bombing in Sudan's South Kordofan region near the north-south border, the UN says.

Northern forces are accused of targeting the area's pro-southern groups, as oil-rich South Sudan prepares for independence next month.

US President Barak Obama has called for a ceasefire following the upsurge of fighting, to prevent a return to the two-decade north-south civil war.

A local rights group said Khartoum's campaign has killed about 65 people.

Khartoum was pursuing a genocidal campaign in South Kordofan, the Sudan Democracy First Group said, AFP news agency reports.

But a spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in London, Ibrahim Mubarak, said pro-south militias were responsible for the conflict.

"They are not disciplined. They attacked UN forces and Sudanese army forces and instigated the whole situation," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

The UN humanitarian agency, Ocha, said 11 areas were affected by the violence, forcing many people to hide in mountainous areas.

"There is a growing sense of panic among some of the displaced populations who find themselves trapped by the ongoing violence and ethnic fault lines," it added.

Sudanese fighter jets dropped 11 bombs in the areas of Kadugli and Kauda early on Wednesday, apparently targeting an airfield, a UN observer mission spokesman in Sudan, Kouider Zerrouk, told AFP. (read more)