The International Crisis Group said the main political parties and the international community needed to deal with the crisis before polls in 2009.
“South Kordofan is a Sudan in miniature, with heavily armed African and Arab tribes living side by side,” ICG’s Fouad Hikmat told the BBC.
The state was bitterly contested during the north-south war that ended in 2005.
A peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the southern rebel movement ended one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest conflicts, with the two parties supposed to share power and the country’s oil wealth.
But the situation in Southern Kordofan, which lies to the north of the border of South Sudan and borders Darfur, could be the domino that tips over the peace in the south, and possibly, the entire country, the ICG says.
In a report entitled Sudan’s Southern Kordofan: The Next Darfur? it says the main northern and southern political parties – President Omar al-Bashir’s NCP and the ex-rebel SPLM – have been “dangerously engaged in ethnic polarisation” in advance of elections [...]