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“This is a war of domination and eradication. At its core, it is a war of terror by the government of Sudan against its own people.”

In Pretoria, South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said she was “deeply concerned for the prevailing situation” in South Kordofan.

Mrs. Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists that parties from the north and south have agreed to work with Ethiopia, which will send 4,000 troops to de-escalate tensions on the border.

When Sudan achieved independence in 1956 from joint rule by Britain and Egypt, the largely Christian and black African south was placed under the rule of Muslim Arabs in the capital, Khartoum.

After decades of civil war, the south held a referendum in January with 98.83 percent voting for a separate state. The new Republic of South Sudan became Africa’s newest nation on July 9.

Khartoum insists it is hunting down rebels who have refused to accept the peace deal.