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Africa

UN troops could police Sudan border, says US official

media Police trainees demonstrate crowd control techniques at a UN-run training … Reuters

United Nation troops could police “hotspots” on the border between North and South Sudan before an independence referendum in the south, according to reports. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior US official also told reporters that Sudan could be hit with sanctions if the vote is delayed, according to French press agency AFP.

When UN Security Council ambassadors visited Sudan last week, South Sudan President Salva Kiir asked for UN peacekeepers to be put along the border.

Some UN mission (Unmis) forces already act as observers in the area, where each side has accused the other of building up their military ahead of the referendum.

"One thing I think we can and should consider if the [UN special representative] and the [UN] secretariat come forward with such a proposal is looking at augmenting UNMIS in certain hotspots along the border where a buffer presence could be established," the US official said.

The 9 January referendum in South Sudan and the region of Abyei is part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a two-decade civil war in which two million people died.

The south is expected to vote for secession, but preparations for the vote are said to be behind schedule.

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