A long time Sudan observer said the escalation of fighting in Blue Nile state between the Sudan Armed Forces, SAF, and Sudan People's Liberation Army, SPLA-northern sector, could have serious and multiple effects in other parts of Sudan. John Ashworth, peace and security advisor to the Sudan Ecumenical Council, said the government of the Republic of Sudan is opening up several fronts that could engulf the country in a full scale war.
He said with the Sudan government currently fighting two civil wars in Darfur and Southern Kordofan, another conflict in Blue Nile state will have negative financial and political implcations. Ashworth added that authorites in Khartoum attacked Blue Nile state to cover up their failures to conduct the popular consultation process in the region, as stipulated in the 2005 Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
The fighting in Blue Nile state errupted Thursday night with both the SAF and the SPLA pointing an accusing finger at each other for starting the war. The spokesman for SAF, al- Shawarime Khalid stressed that the SPLA in Damazine attacked their positions and his troops then fought back and captured the town.
The SPLM Secretary-General Yassir Arman told reporters in Khartoum Friday that SAF troops attacked the compound of the governor of Blue Nile state, Malik Agar. Agar and most other senior members of SPLA Northern Sector are reported to have fled the Damazine town to an unknown location.
VOA’s John Tanza reached John Asworth in Nairobi, Kenya. You can hear his interview by clicking the link below, or at the top right of the page