Just days before southern Sudan is poised to break away and form a new country, ending decades of civil war and bloodshed, new fighting is breaking out in the north's Nuba Mountains along the north-south border, reports the New York Times. The Sudan government is desperate to keep the oil-rich region, which is in South Kordofan, along the border with the breakaway south, but rebels are stepping up their military campaign for independence.
“The government is trying to control and take care of the people for peace and security and actually defeat and remove all the traces of rebels from the area,” said a government spokesman. “We are not against the people." But rebel fighters, who are overwhelmingly not Muslims, unlike the northern government, are not backing down. “We want a secular, democratic state where we can be free to rule ourselves. Like Kurdistan," said a doctor-turned-rebel. "It’s going to be a long war.”