Sudan 'launches air strikes' on South
04 May 2012, 16:18
Khartoum - South Sudan on Friday accused Sudan of launching an air
strike on one of its oil regions, imperilling the chances of a promised
ceasefire between the two former civil war foes, but Khartoum denied the
The 1 800km-long border between the two countries had
been largely quiet for the past 48 hours, raising hopes that they could
begin talks to end a series of clashes over oil exports, border
demarcation and citizenship that have pushed them closer towards a
But South Sudan's army (SPLA) spokesperson Philip Aguer said on Friday that Khartoum was again on the offensive.
"There was an aerial bombardment in Lalop at Unity state at 16:00 on Thursday," he said, speaking from Juba.
"At the same time our position in Teshween was shelled using ground artillery."
army spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment, but
Sudan's Information Ministry spokesperson denied the allegations.
is a lie. The Sudanese government is focusing on protecting its border
and rooting out the SPLA from its territories," said Rabie Abdelatie.
of the attack came after Sudan said it was ready to accede to
international demands for a halt to hostilities, albeit with a
"The ministry points out in light of the
repeated attacks and aggressions that South Sudan's army is carrying out
...the Sudanese armed forces will find itself forced to use the right
to self-defence," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Limited access to the remote border areas make it difficult to verify often contradictory statements from both sides.
Threat of sanctions
UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution
threatening Khartoum and Juba with sanctions unless they stopped
fighting and resumed talks within two weeks, endorsing an African Union
deadline of 08 May for negotiations to begin.
National Congress Party has shrugged off the threat, saying such
U.S.-backed resolutions "aim to punish Sudan and reward the aggressor",
the state SUNA news agency said on Friday.
The African Union has
drawn up a seven-point road map for peace that demands both countries
withdraw their troops from contested areas and resume talks.
largest country before the South gained independence last July, Sudan
sits atop some of the continent's most significant oil resources.
it lost three-quarters of the oil after Juba's seceded under a 2005
settlement that ended two decades of civil war. The pipelines to export
the oil are all located in the north, however, and a dispute about how
the oil wealth should be divided has stoked fears of a return to war.
The conflict has brought nearly all oil production to a standstill, damaging both countries' oil dependent economies.
York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Sudanese forces of conducting
"indiscriminate bombings and abuses" against civilians in the Nuba
Mountains and South Kordofan.
It has said the violence may amount to crimes against humanity. Sudan dismissed the charges.
Sudanese army and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North
(SPLM-N), a rebel group, have been fighting in the South Kordofan and
Blue Nile states since last year.
"The government does not attack
civilians. The ones who are [attacking] are the SPLM-N and this is
their creed. The government is committed to protecting its civilians
from these rebel movements that indiscriminately loot and kill,"
Abdelatie, the spokesperson for Sudan's Information Ministry, told