South accuses Sudan of bombing, massing troops

November 24, 2012 - 4:15:43 am


JUBA: South Sudan yesterday accused Sudan of killing seven people in air strikes on a disputed area and said its northern neighbour was jeopardising a plan to restart cross-border oil flows by massing troops along their joint border.

Sudan has already denied the accusations of bombing - which South Sudan said lasted for three days - and a Sudanese military spokesman was not immediately available on Friday to respond to the new troop movement allegation. The African neighbours agreed to end hostilities in September and to resume oil exports from the South via the north after coming close to war in April, the worst outbreak of violence since South Sudan’s secession last year.

But tensions flared up again this week after the two countries accused one another of failing to move their forces back from the unmarked joint border, something both had said must happen before oil exports could resume.

Philip Aguer, a spokesman for South Sudan’s army, said Sudanese Antonov warplanes had dropped 27 bombs on Kiir Adem, an area lying inside a 14 mile-wide (22.5km) strip of land claimed by both countries since Tuesday.

“As a result of this aggression seven people died ... these are all civilians,” Aguer said, saying that eight people had been wounded. “They are militarising the border instead of demilitarising it.”

Khartoum denied the bombing accusations on Wednesday, saying its forces had instead attacked a camp of rebels from the Darfur region “deep inside its territory”.