Conflict in southern Sudan has been ongoing for years, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes that continuing hostilities in 2010 can lead to “catastrophic humanitarian, political, military, and economic consequences throughout the region.” In January 2010, ethnic clashes throughout southern Sudan left hundreds of people dead and countless more displaced. The United Nations reports that the rising tribal violence killed over 2,000 people and displaced about 250,000 people in 2009. According to Al-Jazeera, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has blamed some of the inter-tribal fighting on government interference from Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city. The SPLM say that the Sudanese government is arming civilians and militias to cause unrest ahead of Sudan’s presidential and parliamentary elections, to be held in April 2010. Moreover, the SPLM alleges that northern interference is a deliberate attempt to stir up violence ahead of the 2011 referendum, which will determine whether southern Sudan will gain independence and become an autonomous nation.