UN: Sudan agents posed as Red Crescent workers

June 23, 2011 - 11:15 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Sudanese intelligence agents posed as Red Crescent workers and ordered refugees to leave a U.N.-protected camp in a region where Sudan's Arab military has been targeting a black ethnic minority, according to an internal U.N. report obtained Thursday.

The report said agents from the National Security Service donned Red Crescent aprons at a camp in Kadugli, South Kordofan and told the refugees to go to a stadium for an address by the governor and for humanitarian aid. The refugees were threatened with forced removal from the camp if they did not comply.

The report, which is marked "For Internal Use Only" and is dated Wednesday, does not say what happened to the camp residents after their forced removal on Monday. The report did not say how many refugees were forced to leave the camp.

Officials with the U.N. and the northern government couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Violence erupted in South Kordofan earlier this month when Sudan's military attacked a black community aligned with Sudan's south. A previous U.N. report said dozens of Nuba people have been killed, but officials have not been able to confirm an exact toll amid rumors that the military has been rounding up the Nuba people for mass executions.

The U.N. says at least 73,000 people have fled the fighting.

The attacks began only weeks before Southern Sudan will secede from the north on July 9. The independence declaration is the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between the north and south. Some 2 million people were killed in that war.

U.S. experts who study Sudan say the north is attacking communities in South Kordofan and the separate region of Abyei to put pressure on regions that contain oil and to improve its negotiating position on issues like border demarcation and wealth sharing.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday threatened to block oil pipelines if Southern Sudan doesn't pay to transport oil or share it with Khartoum. Most of Sudan's oil is in the south, but the south relies on pipelines that run through the north to get the oil to market.

President Barack Obama this week urged the north and south to agree to an immediate cease-fire in South Kordofan. He praised a separate agreement to allow Ethiopian peacekeepers into the contested Abyei area.

The U.S. says Sudanese forces have shelled and bombed South Kordofan and that there are reports that forces aligned with the government are arresting and allegedly executing southern Sudanese forces and sympathizers.

Obama said reports of attacks based on ethnicity were "deeply disturbing."

Edward Lino, an official with the top southern political party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, said Thursday that the Egyptian U.N. peacekeepers stationed in South Kordofan should be replaced because they cannot defend the Nuba population from attacks from the northern military.