Sudan: Clashes Between SPLA and Militias Kill 69
The South Sudanese army clashed with southern militias on Thursday that left 69 soldiers and militiamen dead. South Sudan has accused the Northern government in Khartoum of arming the militias in an attempt to destabilize the South ahead of its planned declaration of independence in July. Fighting has been taking place in three South Sudanese states that are vital to the country’s oil production although production levels have not been affected by the violence. Relations between North and South have gotten progressively worse since the peaceful referendum on southern independence. Talks between the North’s ruling National Congress Party, the party of President Omar al-Bashir, and the Southern government have been suspended. Diplomatic efforts by South Africa to convince South Sudan to resume talks have been unsuccessful amid harsh accusations of Northern complicity in the violence.