Khartoum says UN should leave border

2011-07-03 22:45

Juba - A northern Sudanese official says United Nations peacekeepers should leave a volatile border state immediately after Southern Sudan becomes independent next week.

Northern government spokesperson Rabie A Atti said on Sunday that the UN should leave South Kordofan state soon after Southern Sudan becomes independent on July 9. He says the northern army can secure the area on its own.

But diplomats and rights groups worry such a departure could leave tens of thousands of southern-supporting civilians in danger.

Fighting erupted last month between northern troops and southern-aligned forces native to South Kordofan who hail from a black African ethnic group that opposes the rule of Sudan's Arab north.