Peacekeepers monitoring tense South Sudan

Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:15 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to western South Sudan to protect civilians fleeing violent clashes, a mission spokesman said.

About a dozen people were reported killed in South Sudan in clashes between riot police and area demonstrators, the independent Sudan Tribune reports. Protests erupted following a regional political shake-up.

U.N. spokesman Eduardo Del Buey, a spokesman for the United Nations, told reporters that at least 5,000 people have fled the violence to U.N. safe havens in the area.

"The U.N. mission continues to safeguard the airport and has conducted patrols to assess the situation in the city (of Wau) and affected outlying settlements," he said.

The clashes followed reports of a tentative peace deal reached between South Sudan and Sudan that settles outstanding issues left over from a 2005 peace deal. That deal paved the way to South Sudan's independence, though border disputes and ethnic clashes have jeopardized the peace.

The Sudanese newspaper reports that Khartoum announced plans to divide the border state of South Kordofan. The new state would be called West Darfur, an entity dissolved by the Sudanese government in 2005.

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