JUBA/KHARTOUM, Nov 11 (Reuters) - South Sudan on Friday accused Sudan of
orchestrating fresh cross-border attacks on its troops, the same day the
United Nations said Sudanese military aircraft bombed a refugee camp in
Sudan denied both allegations and said it had not engaged in any military
operations south of the border.
Sudan and South Sudan have been at loggerheads over violence along the
poorly-defined border since the south seceded in July, complicating talks
over unresolved issues such as how much South Sudan should pay to use
Sudan's oil pipelines and facilities.
Each side says the other is backing rebels in its territory, and analysts
say the conflict could erupt into war.
South Sudan's army spokesman Philip Aguer said "southern mercenaries
supported and heavily armed by Khartoum" launched an attack on a military
base in Kuek in South Sudan's Upper Nile state on Thursday around 9.00 a.m.
Five soldiers from South Sudan's Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) died
and 26 were wounded during the assault, Aguer said. He said 13 of the
attackers were killed and 47 wounded.
"Their (Khartoum's) plan, as we know, is to occupy some oil fields," Aguer
Sudan's armed forces spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid dismissed the accusation.
"We have no war or conflict with the government of South Sudan," he said.
"This information is not correct."
Oil-producing South Sudan split off into Africa's newest nation after voting
for independence in a January referendum. The plebiscite was promised in a
2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.
But fighting has erupted this year in Sudan's Blue Nile and South Kordofan
states between Sudan's military and rebels who sided with the south during
the civil war.
At least five bombs fell in the Yida refugee camp in Unity on Thursday, less
than 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the border with Sudan. A Reuters
correspondent saw one unexploded bomb wedged in a school and a white plane
About 20,000 people fleeing fighting in South Kordofan had taken refuge in
The United Nations on Friday accused Sudan of carrying out the bombing and
called for an investigation into the attack.
"Yesterday UNMISS (the U.N. mission in South Sudan) confirmed that the Sudan
Armed Forces dropped at least two bombs near the Yida refugee camp," U.N.
peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told a meeting of the U.N. Security
Sudanese U.N. ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman told the council: "There
have been no bombings," later adding the reports had been concocted by media
agencies supporting anti-Khartoum rebels.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice reiterated Washington's condemnation of the
attack, calling it "outrageous". She added that Osman had "blatantly lied"
in his denial to the council.
Speaking to reporters, she also ordered Khartoum to halt all military
operations against South Sudan and urged Juba to be restrained and not let
itself to be provoked by the north.
Washington is drafting a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the
bombing which it hopes the 15-nation body will adopt on Tuesday in New York,
council diplomats told Reuters.
Also on Friday, a satellite monitoring group said Sudan's military was
improving air bases in Blue Nile, potentially helping it step up air strikes
in the border region.
The Satellite Sentinel Project said it captured images that appeared to show
"active enhancement" of two air bases seized from rebels in Kurmuk on Nov.
2, including what appeared to be four new helicopter landing pads built in
the past week.
Sudan foreign ministry spokesman El-Obeid Morawah dismissed the report as an
attempt to garner support for armed insurgents and said Sudan does not use
military aircraft against civilians or in South Sudan's territory.
(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York and Tom Miles in
Geneva; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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Received on Fri Nov 11 2011 - 18:14:35 EST