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Sudan declares state of emergency in Blue Nile state


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Sudan declares state of emergency in Blue Nile state

2011-09-04 02:36:25 GMT+7 (ICT)

KHARTOUM (BNO NEWS) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a state of emergency in the Blue Nile State following heavy fighting in the region, the Sudan Tribune reported on Saturday.

Bashir has also dismissed Blue Nile state governor Malik Agar, who is also chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), amid reports of aerial bombardments in the region. He instead appointed the commander of Sudanese army (SAF) base in the Blue Nile's capital of al-Damazin, Major General Yahya Mohamed Khair, as a military ruler of the state.

The announcement came after fighting broke out on Friday between the SAF and the SPLM, and the house of Agar was allegedly targeted during a military offensive.

The warring sides traded accusations over who started the fight. SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman told the Sudan Tribune that Sudan's army instigated the clashes by attacking the SPLM-N's Joint Integrated Units and the residence of Agar. Meanwhile, Sudan's army said that SPLM-N forces carried out attacks in al-Damazin and more than four areas in the vicinity.

According to the army's official spokesman, Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa'ad, SPLM-N was mobilizing its forces to launch coordinated attacks on a number of army units. In contrast, Agar told Sudan Tribune that the Sudanese army was the one who instigated the fighting by attacking the positions of SPLM-N's troops and accused Sudan's army of carrying out aerial bombardments.

Meanwhile, Sudan's foreign ministry announced that it intends to include the violent events in al-Damazin to the complaint it lodged to the UN Security Council (UNSC). The Sudanese government this week sent a letter to the UNSC accusing South Sudan of supporting SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan State which neighbors the Blue Nile.

The government in Khartoum has been engaged in clashes with SPLA forces in South Kordofan, another state in the north that is on the southern border, since last June. Both states are part of north Sudan but their population sided largely with the South during the second Sudanese civil wars 1983-2005.

South Sudan became the world's newest country when it broke away from Sudan on July 9 as a culmination of a six-year peace process which began in January 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM.

More than two million people, most of them civilians who died due to starvation and drought, were killed during the 20-year civil war in Sudan. Although there were hopes that South Sudan secession would lead to peace, violence has continued both on a local level in South Sudan as well as with the Sudanese forces.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-09-04

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