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Sudan military says south troops crossed disputed border

by Staff Writers
Khartoum (AFP) Oct 7, 2010
Sudan's military accused the army of the semi-autonomous south on Thursday of crossing a disputed border, warning that the "violation" could derail a referendum on possible southern independence scheduled for January.

Military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said the Sudan People's Liberation Army, former rebels who became the southern army after a 2005 peace treaty, "concentrated military forces" in the northern White Nile state.

"The referendum will be impossible if these violations continue," he told the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the country's intelligence service.

South Sudan spokesmen could not be immediately reached for comment.

North and south Sudan, which fought a 22-year war that ended in a power-sharing deal and the promise of a referendum, dispute the borders drawn in 1956, when Sudan gained independence from Anglo-Egyptian administration.

One of the points of dispute is the border between Renk County in the southern state of Upper Nile and Jabalain, in the north's White Nile State.

There is a population of southern Dinka tribesmen who live north of the border, while Arab nomads travel to the south yearly in search of pastures.

The border is one of the most sensitive points of dispute as the south prepares to vote January 9 on whether it will remain in a united Sudan.

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