Sudan Fighting in Blue Nile State Displaces 100,000, UN says

Clashes between the Sudanese armed forces and rebels in Blue Nile state are displacing tens of thousands of people who can’t be reached by aid agencies due to government restrictions on movement, the United Nations said.

The fighting started this month when Sudanese troops and members of the northern branch of the ruling party in neighboring South Sudan clashed in the Blue Nile state capital, Al-Damazin. As many as 100,000 people have fled their homes, the UN News Centre reported yesterday.

While the UN World Food Programme has received requests from groups such as the Sudanese Red Crescent Society for aid, “due to government-imposed restrictions on pre-positioning of food stocks in Blue Nile, WFP has only enough stocks to feed 20,000 people for two weeks,” it said.

Sudan’s government has been trying to disarm fighters in the border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan who fought during a two-decade civil war with the forces of South Sudan, which gained independence on July 9. Clashes first erupted on June 5 in Southern Kordofan, Sudan’s main oil-producing state, forcing more than 150,000 people to flee their homes, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Sudanese army spokesman al-Swarmi Khaled didn’t answer two calls to his phone seeking comment.

President Umar al-Bashir’s administration has fired the governor of Blue Nile state and declared a state of emergency in the area.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Johannesburg at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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