Aid groups: Southern Sudan may return to war

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A group of aid agencies is warning that Sudan’s volatile southern region could collapse into chaos again.

The first multi-party elections in more than two decades are set for April, and the groups said Thursday a referendum on independence for the south in January 2011 also could re-ignite conflict.

The aid agencies also worry about disputes between the south and north over oil.

The report released by 10 agencies — including Oxfam International, Save the Children and World Vision — said the next year could determine the future of Africa’s largest nation.

A 2005 peace deal ended more than 20 years of civil war. The groups say a return to conflict would have devastating consequences that extend far beyond southern Sudan.