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May 25, 12:42 PM EDT

Sudanese government denies supporting rebels in South Sudan



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KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- The Sudanese government denied on Monday it was supporting rebels in South Sudan after it accused Khartoum of supplying arms to the insurgents threatening its oil fields.

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq told the official SUNA news agency that his country has "no interest in such an intervention." He said instability in South Sudan would send more refugees into Sudan and create of hotspots along its border.

South Sudan military officials have alleged that Khartoum provides weapons and ammunition to a defected army leader in its Upper Nile state. Rebels are threatening South Sudan's remaining functional oil fields.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after the region was engulfed in years of bloody civil war with Sudanese government troops.

Also Monday, the country's journalists' union said that authorities had confiscated at least 14 newspapers without giving any notice or justification. In a statement protesting the move against press freedom, it said that four of the papers were ordered shut down entirely.

A similar incident occurred last February, when 14 daily newspapers were confiscated in a single day. The union said it would be following the case and urging authorities to rescind the order.

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