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Report: Sudan Using 'Scorched Earth' Tactics in Rebel State

Sudanese armed forces at the oil-rich border town of Heglig, South Kordofan state, April 2012 file photo.
A new report says Sudan's military is using "scorched earth" tactics against civilians in a state where rebels are fighting the government.

The report from Amnesty International says aerial bombings and ground attacks have destroyed at least eight villages in the Ingessana Hills area of Blue Nile state. The group released before-and-after satellite photos showing the destruction.

The report cites witnesses as saying Sudanese forces attacked villages, looted valuable possessions, and then systematically set fire to houses.

Amnesty International's Sudan researcher, Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, said the destruction follows the pattern used by government forces while fighting rebels in Darfur.

There was no immediate reaction from Sudan to the report.

Sudan's government has been battling the rebel group SPLA-North in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states since mid-2011, around the time South Sudan became independent. Sudan accuses the south of supporting the group, an offshoot of the southern army that fought during Sudan's civil war.

South Sudan denies the allegations.

The allegations were renewed on Saturday when Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir ordered a shutdown of the pipelines that carry southern oil to a port in the north for export.

The International Criminal Court has previously indicted President Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for attacks on civilians in Darfur.