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Monday 30 April 2012

Sudan: Khartoum Declares State of Emergency Along Southern Border

The decree gives Khartoum broader powers to arrest and try suspects in the volatile region of the border districts of the South Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar states, according to the state-run Suna news agency.

By staff writer

KHARTOUM — Sudan has declared a state of emergency Sunday along much of its border with South Sudan as build up to an all-out war continues after weeks of clashes.

The decree gives Khartoum broader powers to arrest and try suspects in the volatile region of the border districts of the South Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar states, according to the state-run Suna news agency.

The state of emergency "gives the right to the president and anyone with his mandate" to establish special courts, in consultation with the chief justice, according to Suna.

The order was issued a day after Sudan detained three foreigners and a South Sudanese near the border and accused them of spying for South Sudan  in the contested Heglig area, a charge the South denies.

Sudan arrested a Briton, a Norwegian, a South African and a South Sudanese in the oil-producing area  on Saturday.

The measure also suspends the constitution in border areas and imposes a trade embargo against South Sudan.

The action signals a continued push toward all-our war as hostilities between the neighboring countries intensify over oil revenue, border demarcation and citizenship disputes.

South Sudan, meanwhile, said Sunday that it would remove its security forces from the contested region of Abyei in response to demands from the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

Hostilities between the two sides erupted this month when South Sudan captured the important oil-producing region of Heglig from Sudan, which soon regained control of it. Sudanese officials have accused the South of using foreign fighters in Heglig and supporting insurgents seeking to topple the government in Khartoum. Both sides deny that they are supporting rebel militias.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July last year after a referendum. A number of pressing issues, however, have not been resolved, including the demarcation of the border, the status of each nation’s citizens in the other’s country, and the sharing of the revenues from the region’s oil.

The international community has called on both sides to end hostilities and resume peaceful dialogue.

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