The U.S. and other international players must help strengthen southern Sudan’s government and economy by July 2011, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, said. The south may vote to secede from the north in January’s referendum, The New York Times reports. The U.S. is looking at mobilizing support from Sudan’s African neighbors, Europe and China to assist south Sudan in its attempt to become an independent state.
Sudanese government forces and rebel group Justice and Equality Movement were caught in an armed faction, according to the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission. The conflict infringed on a Feb. 23 cease-fire agreement between the two forces.
Meanwhile, south Sudan’s army claimed that one of its bases in Jonglei State was attacked by armed men who killed at least eight soldiers.