WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) — Washington is very concerned about the escalation of violence in South Kordofan state in Sudan, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said.
Washington dispatched Princeton Lyman, its U.S. special envoy for Sudan, to the region last week to press both sides to restart negotiations on border security.
South Sudan became the world’s newest independent nation July 9 as part of a comprehensive peace agreement in 2005 that ended Sudan’s civil war. Issues like oil revenue and border clashes, however, continue to threaten to undermine the agreement.
U.N. officials had said there was evidence that at least 150 bodies were discovered in the border region. The bodies bore the characteristic skin color of Nuban descent, suggesting the conflict was ethnically motivated.
Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said Washington was very concerned about reports coming out of South Kordofan.
“It has been alarming, the escalation of violence there and we would urge both sides to cease all hostilities and allow for humanitarian workers to have access to some of the displaced people by the fighting there,” he said.
Satellite imagery reportedly depicts what are believed to be mass graves related to ethnic violence in South Kordofan state along the border between the two Sudans. Officials in the Sudanese government denied civilians were targeted in any attacks.