South Sudan News: Khartoum blamed for recent raid attack

A herdsman stands among his cattle at a cattle-camp near South Sudan's central town of Rumbek. One of Africa's longest-running wars left this land in ruins and battling a bitter legacy that threatens prospects for peace — a stockpile of weapons spurring cattle raids and banditry.

NAIROBI, Kenya — A raid has killed dozens of people in South Sudan, close to the border with its northern neighbor. Officials in Juba were quick to blame Khartoum for the attack, as they always are.

Sometimes there is truth in the accusations, sometimes there is not.

This example of the Sudanese blame game is more ridiculous than usual with South Sudan's interior minister unable to say who the attackers were even as he is adamant that Khartoum armed them.

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Whatever the facts of this particular attack it serves to underscore the parlous state of relations between North and South which are steadily deteriorating to a point of near non-existence.

Right now oil is the issue — specifically a row over the amount the South should pay to the north for transporting southern oil along northern pipelines for export — but if it wasn't it would be something else: debt, border demarcation, citizenship, support to rebels, Abyei ... the list goes on.

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It's hard to believe that full-blown civil war is on the cards.

After all these two nations know very well what war costs in lives and cash having fought for the best part of half a century.

But the impact of this diplomatic rupture will be felt in the border areas between North and South where proxy fighting, aerial bombing and failed crops add up to a humanitarian disaster in the making.

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