Clashes Erupt in Key Border State in Sudan

Posted September 2nd, 2011 at 5:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The Sudanese army says it has battled rebels aligned with newly independent South Sudan in a key border state.

Sudan's state run news agency said Friday the government has declared a state of emergency in Blue Nile state and appointed a military ruler for the region after fighting broke out late Thursday.

Each side has accused the other of instigating the violence in the town of al-Damazine.

The Sudanese government said Friday it pushed back forces traditionally seen as loyal to South Sudan's dominant Sudan People's Liberation Movement .

Witnesses say there was a mass movement of people fleeing al-Damazine Friday.

The latest unrest has raised concerns that fighting between the two sides is spreading from Sudan's Southern Kordofan state, which is also located along the border.

Clashes have escalated in some border regions since South Sudan declared independence from the north in July.

Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states are in Sudan, but many who supported the south during a 21-year civil war still live there.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called for a truce in Southern Kordofan state in late August, after the United

Nations said it had reports indicating that Sudanese forces were committing human rights abuses against southern supporters.