South Sudan accuses Khartoum of more border attacks
Wed May 9, 2012 7:03pm GMT
* Reports seven areas targeted on south side of border
* Highlights obstacles to international peace push (Adds UN confirmation of
JUBA May 9 (Reuters) - South Sudan accused Sudan on Wednesday of bombing and
shelling seven areas on the southern side of their disputed border in the
last 48 hours, calling the acts a violation of a U.N.-backed ceasefire that
should have begun on Saturday.
The latest allegations indicated that continuing tensions between the two
old civil war foes, which erupted into border fighting last month, could
hamper international efforts to push them to resume negotiations on various
A South Sudan military spokesman, Kella Dual Kueth, told reporters Sudanese
forces attacked South Sudanese territory in Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Upper
Nile states on Monday and Tuesday, using MiG jet fighters, Antonov bombers
and ground shelling.
"Of course, automatically this is a violation (of the ceasefire). If we have
a compromise and we are at peace and then I go and knife you in the back,
what does that mean?" Kueth said.
In Khartoum, the Sudanese army spokesman did not answer repeated calls to
comment on the allegations.
Addressing Sudanese parliamentarians on Wednesday, Sudanese Foreign Minister
Ali Ahmed Karti said Khartoum would cooperate with a U.N. Security Council
resolution which called on both sides to commit to an African Union (AU)
"We ... will stick to the Security Council resolution ... Why be afraid of
dealing with the Security Council resolution? Dealing with it positively
gives a chance for our friends to defend us," Karti told lawmakers.
Limited access to the remote border areas makes it difficult to verify often
contradictory statements from both sides.
AT ODDS OVER OIL, BORDERS, CITIZENSHIP
Simmering disputes over oil exports, border demarcation and citizenship,
stemming from the South's secession as an independent nation last year,
bubbled over into direct clashes between the two rival armies in April.
As the conflict escalated, the United Nations condemned Sudanese air strikes
on South Sudan's territory and international pressure forced South Sudanese
forces to withdraw from the oil-rich area of Heglig which they had occupied.
The fighting prompted the Security Council to pass a resolution last week
threatening sanctions if the two sides did not follow the AU roadmap, which
stipulates a ceasefire and a return to negotiations.
Both sides have made statements warily accepting the proposed peace plan but
say they reserve the right to defend themselves if attacked.
The AU previously mediated talks between Juba and Khartoum in Ethiopia's
capital Addis Ababa.
"This will sabotage (a peace deal) because if they are fighting, who will
listen in Addis Ababa about the need for peace?" Kueth asked.
On Friday, South Sudan also accused Sudan of attacking its positions in an
oil region. An army spokesman in Sudan denied the charge.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters
on Wednesday that peacekeepers had visited two South Sudanese sites
allegedly bombed on Friday.
"A (U.N.) mission patrol visited Panakuach on May 7 and the patrol confirmed
at least two craters there consistent with reported bombings. A patrol to
Lalop on May 4 also confirmed three craters caused by recent bombings and
two injured civilians, one woman and one child," he said.
Nesirky said the United Nations was aware of reports of further bombings
overnight, "but what we have confirmed so far are ... the incidents that
took place on May 4."
A senior Western diplomat said on Wednesday that it was often difficult to
verify allegations South Sudan and Sudan are making against each other. But
he said that if the two sides fail to withdraw from the disputed border area
of Abyei by May 16 as demanded by the council, talk of sanctions would
In its May 2 resolution the Security Council also gave the two sides a
48-hour ultimatum to halt all violence and three months to resolve all
disputes under threat of sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has called on Sudan to stop all
cross-border attacks, including what she called "provocative" aerial
bombardments. (Reporting by Hereward Holland in Juba, Yara Bayoumy in
Khartoum and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and
Sudan says regained control of rebel-held Darfur town
Wed May 9, 2012 6:46pm GMT
KHARTOUM May 9 (Reuters) - Sudanese army troops have pushed out rebels who
had seized control of a town in the western Darfur region, a state-linked
media website said on Wednesday, the latest violent incident in the troubled
The two Darfur rebel factions -- the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) factions
led by Minni Minnawi and Abdelwahid Nour -- had captured Girayda in southern
Darfur on Tuesday as part of their campaign to topple President Omar Hassan
"The armed forces were able to defeat remnants of Minnawi's forces from the
area of Girayda in South Darfur province after they stormed it yesterday
with the purpose of stealing, looting and terrorising people," the Sudanese
Media Centre said.
It quoted the spokesman for South Darfur province, Ahmed el-Tayeb, as saying
nine Sudanese army soldiers has been killed and that combing operations were
still going on to "cleanse the area". The Sudanese army spokesman was not
immediately available for comment to confirm the deaths.
The two rebel factions had formed an alliance, known as the Sudanese
Revolutionary Front, with other fighters in Sudan's southern border states
Sudan accuses South Sudan, which gained independence from Khartoum last
year, of secretly backing some rebels, an allegation Juba denies.
The two former civil war foes have clashed repeatedly in the past month
along their shared 1,800 km (1,200 mile) border and remain locked in a
conflict over oil revenues, border demarcation and citizenship that had
threatened to escalate into a full-blown war.
A spokesman for the Minnawi faction rebels, Abdullah Mursal, denied the
fighters had been pushed out.
"We are still here, this is not true, the government has not entered in
Girayda," he said.
But the African Union/U.N. mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said peacekeepers on
patrol early on Wednesday had seen that "the armed movements had left".
"Our patrol observed that several people had died and several were injured.
There was widespread looting, fuel was stolen and a lot of businesses were
damaged," UNAMID spokesman Chris Cycmanick said.
Violence has subsided since mostly African insurgents in Darfur took up arms
against the Arab-dominated government in 2003, but rebel and tribal fighting
and banditry still plagues the territory. (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Myra
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Wed May 09 2012 - 18:17:11 EDT