Sudan conflict not isolated to south

Dec. 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Authorities working with the United Nations in eastern Sudan said ethnic conflicts could complicate an already tense regional security situation.

U.N. peacekeepers deployed in South Sudan this week reported armed militants went on a killing spree in villages in Jonglei state near country's northern border. At least 45 people were killed and many others fled the area following the attacks.

A peace deal in eastern Sudan ended a bloody rebellion five years ago, though one official working with the U.N. Development Program said conflict was again simmering.

Fighters from the Beja ethnic group in eastern Sudan reached a peace deal in 2006 with the Sudanese government. The UNDP official told the United Nations humanitarian news agency IRIN that renewed tensions in eastern Sudan made the region like "a volcano waiting to erupt."

Fighters from the ethnic group are gathered on the Eritrean side of the border. The border will remain safe as long as ties between Sudan and Eritrea remain on solid footing, one official said.

The U.N. Security Council this week placed sanctions on Eritrea for its support for extremist groups in the region. Members expressed concern over a so-called diaspora tax that the Eritrean government allegedly used to fund militant groups in the region.

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