The Sudanese government on Thursday ordered the closure of its borders with Libya and Central African Republic over unspecified security concerns, reported Africa News.
According to a statement released by the country’s civilian-military sovereign council, the decision to cease the neighboring borders was taken at a meeting in Niyala, the capital of South Darfur state.
“The sovereign council, in a meeting with the government of South Darfur, ordered the closure of the border with Libya and Central African Republic as it threatened the security and economy of the country,” the statement said.
The statement, however, did not detail the concerns. It also did not mention Chad, which has a long border with Sudan’s Darfur region. Sudan and Chad have security agreements signed and joint forces patrol the boundary.
The announcement was made after a meeting between the ruling council and the government of South Darfur State, part of Sudan’s western Darfur region.
The western region of Darfur fell into widespread conflict in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government of ousted President Omar al-Bashir. According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the years-long conflict in Darfur and more than two million displaced.
Although violence has eased in recent years in Darfur, there are reports that African migrants regularly cross into Libya through the vast and arid region. Thousands of African nationals attempt to reach the Mediterranean through Sudan every year as the country lies at the heart of migratory routes that connect East and West Africa to the Mediterranean and Europe.
Furthermore, Sudan has often complained about arms trafficked through its borders with Libya and Central African Republic. Conflicts in Libya and Central African Republic have left their governments with almost no control of security over swathes of their territory.