Britain warns Sudan over 'shocking' attacks

14th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain on Tuesday condemned the "shocking and disturbing" escalation of violence in central Sudan as the head of the Anglican church warned it could become "another Darfur".

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned" at reports of attacks in the country's Abyei and Southern Kordofan regions.

"Reports of ongoing attacks on civilians and aerial bombardments are shocking and I condemn all such actions," Hague said in a statement. "Equally disturbing is the denial of access to humanitarian agencies."

Hague responded after the United Nations said that Khartoum had stepped up air strikes in South Kordofan, the north's only oil-producing state which is on the south Sudan border, causing "huge suffering" to the civilian population.

The SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces -- northern army) denied it was targeting civilians, saying it was only targeting rebels, in unrest that comes just weeks before the south is due to win recognition as an independent state.

The British minister warned Khartoum of its "obligation to protect civilians" and called on all parties to "cease hostilities immediately".

Earlier Tuesday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican leader, cautioned that the region risked becoming "another Darfur" and urged international action.

In a statement, Williams said he and other Christian leaders "deplore the mounting level of aggression and bloodshed in South Kordofan state and the indiscriminate violence on the part of government troops against civilians".

"This violence is a major threat to the stability of Sudan just as the new state of South Sudan is coming into being," the archbishop added.

"The humanitarian challenge is already great, and the risk of another Darfur situation, with civilian populations at the mercy of government-supported terror, is a real one."

Williams said the new Anglican cathedral in Kadugli had been burned down, and brutal killings had been reported.

"International awareness of this situation is essential," he said, urging the British government, the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the African Union to guarantee humanitarian access and safety for citizens.

© 2011 AFP

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