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Extra troops in gear for the new South Sudan

Aid agencies have asked the United Nations to send extra troops to South Sudan, as it becomes a new nation tomorrow.

Six years after Africa's longest civil war, its largest country will be officially split in two on Saturday.

The mainly Arab north under President Omar al-Bashir will still be Sudan, only with much less land and oil. And the mostly non-Muslim south, headed by former rebel Salva Kiir, will become the 193rd country to join the United Nations – the Republic of South Sudan.

In recent months, fighting has raged along the border zone between the two future states - and thousands of refugees are on the move. And there are fears fighting could be re-ignited because troops from the north and south are facing off in the contested oil-rich border region of Abyei. The United Nations Security Council is expected to send up to 7,000 peacekeepers to the new nation.

"The increasing violence and human rights violations this year underscore the need for a robust and flexible peacekeeping presence in South Sudan," said Daniel Bekele from Human Rights Watch.

After the vote for independence, Southern Sudan’s government asked its people to return and rebuild their nation. But many of those arriving have ended up homeless.
More than 300,000 people have returned to the south in the past seven months alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration. The number of people going back is still growing and thousands more people are expected to return after tomorrow.

Despite global aid, the influx of people is putting massive strain on the country, where nine out of 10 people - according to the United Nations - live on less than one dollar a day. Shortages of food, drinking water, washing and toilet facilities and health care are serious and the country's infrastructure is poor.  The new Republic of South Sudan is 400,000 square miles large - larger than the United Kingdom and Germany put together - but there are only 19 miles of paved roads. About 390,000 Sudanese refugees are still living in camps or urban settings in neighbouring countries, in particular Egypt, Chad, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The new UN mission has a brief "to consolidate peace and security, and to help establish the conditions for development ... with a view to strengthening the capacity of the government of the Republic of South Sudan to govern effectively and democratically and establish good relations with its neighbors."

Hayley attribution