8 June, 2011 (MISNA)

The Comboni missionary nuns are also among those leaving Kadugli, the capital of the State of South Kordofan, where units of the North Sudanese army (Sudan Armed Forces, SAF) have been fighting against former rebels close to the government of the southern region, aiming for independence.

“The people are fleeing so we also have to go” said to MISNA Sister María Dolores Gil Jiménez, one of the missionaries. Along with her fellow Sisters, today Sister Maria should be transferred by UN peacekeepers toa UN base that is located some 20 km. away.

Thousands have already abandoned Kadugli; they have either been received by peacekeepers in the UN headquarters or by relatives who live in el-Obeid or in other cities of central Sudan beyond the Nuba Mountains. The widespread sensation is that the fighting is only at the beginning. “In Kadugli units of the Sudan Popular Liberation Army (SPLA) now deployed along the Blue Nile might converge,” said Sister María, referring to another State still ruled by Khartoum even though the presence of rebels is very strong.

It is difficult to evaluate the death toll; the UN says at least six people have been killed, while the SPLA says at least 17. It is also difficult to evaluate the reliability of political declarations. The former rebels have demanded a “ceasefire and the immediate start of dialogue”; no mention was made in reference to the latest ultimatum from Khartoum, which had demanded a withdrawal of the SPLA from the regions north of the border marked by the British in 1956.


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