Shelling of UN base in Sudan kills peacekeeper

UN peacekeepers in Abyei town (2008)
Image caption The UN uses the base at Kadugli to supply its Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA)

A peacekeeper was killed and two others were injured in Sudan when artillery shells hit a UN logistics base, the UN has said.

Both the UN secretary general and Security Council condemned the attack.

It is not clear who was behind it, but the UN has recently accused rebels of shelling the town of Kadugli in South Kordofan state, the base's location.

The Sudanese government has also blamed rebels for attacking an oil pipeline in Abyei, a nearby disputed region.

Khartoum said Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) fighters were being supported by South Sudan, and earlier ordered oil companies to block the flow of South Sudanese oil exports through its pipelines.

South Sudan's government has denied supporting the rebels.

Football tournament

The peacekeepers killed in Friday's shelling were from Ethiopia, a UN statement said.

The UN does not have a peacekeeping mission in South Kordofan, but it uses the base at Kadugli to supply its Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), an oil-rich area contested by South Sudan and Sudan.

Kadugli is due to host matches from a regional football tournament which begins on Tuesday, reports the BBC's James Copnall.

The UN base is not far from the football stadium, and one theory is that the rebels were trying to hit the stadium, our correspondent adds.

A spokesman from the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front, which includes the SPLM-N, was quoted in local media as saying they would continue to shell the town even after the tournament begins.

The UN Security Council called on the Sudanese government to "bring the perpetrators to justice", while Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Khartoum and the SPLM-N to "immediately cease hostilities and resume ceasefire negotiations".

Sudanese government forces and members of the SPLM-N have been fighting in South Kordofan for two years.

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international

Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.

Satellite image showing geography of Sudan, source: Nasa

Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.

Map showing Ethnicity of Sudan, source:

Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.

Map showing infant Mortality in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The health inequalities in Sudan are illustrated by infant mortality rates. In South Sudan, one in 10 children die before their first birthday. Whereas in the more developed northern states, such as Gezira and White Nile, half of those children would be expected to survive.

Map showing percentage of households using improved water and sanitation in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

The gulf in water resources between north and south is stark. In Khartoum, River Nile, and Gezira states, two-thirds of people have access to piped drinking water and pit latrines. In the south, boreholes and unprotected wells are the main drinking sources. More than 80% of southerners have no toilet facilities whatsoever.

Map showing percentage of who complete primary school education in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Throughout the two Sudans, access to primary school education is strongly linked to household earnings. In the poorest parts of the south, less than 1% of children finish primary school. Whereas in the wealthier north, up to 50% of children complete primary level education.

Map showing percentage of households with poor food consumption in Sudan, source: Sudan household health survey 2006

Conflict and poverty are the main causes of food insecurity in both countries. In Sudan, many of the residents of war-affected Darfur and the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, depend on food aid. The UN said about 2.8m people in South Sudan would require food aid in 2013. The northern states tend to be wealthier, more urbanised and less reliant on agriculture.

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