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Sudan threatens to close border with South Sudan within days

AFRICA
By Reuters | September 19th 2016
Sudan President Omar al Bashir. Sudan has accused South Sudan of backing insurgents in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions. 

Khartoum: Sudan said on Sunday it would close its border with South Sudan within days if its neighbour did not expel militant groups, the government told state media.

Sudan regularly accuses its neighbour of backing insurgents in the Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions that run along its southern border.

South Sudan split away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war fuelled by ethnic divides and disputes over oil.

The border, regularly crossed by traders and pastoralists, was closed after the 2011 split and only re-opened last January.

Speaking to state media on Sunday, Kamal Ismail, a minister of state in the foreign ministry, said that South Sudan had pledged to expel the militant groups within 21 days during a visit last month.

Khartoum would re-seal the border if its neighbour did not meet this promise, Ismail said.

The position of the border, particularly in the contested Abyei area, has been a constant source of tension, as has the legal status of southerners left living in the north and vice versa.

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