Sudan bombs South, Kiir says rival has 'declared war'

Khartoum's warplanes bombed border regions, leading South Sudan's leader on Tuesday to accuse Sudan of declaring war, as the United States condemned the "provocative" strikes.

The overnight raids, launched in defiance of global calls for restraint, wounded several people in the villages in the South's oil-rich border regions, reaching around 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the front line between the rival armies.

Salva Kiir, on a visit to Beijing where he met President Hu Jintao, said his "neighbour in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan."

Last week, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir threatened to crush the "insect" government of the South, and said the time for talks was over.

Beijing -- a key Khartoum ally but also the main buyer of the South's oil -- has repeatedly called for an end to weeks of border fighting which saw the South seize and hold the Heglig oil field from Sudanese troops for 10 days.

Washington, the driving force behind South Sudan's struggle for statehood, condemned the north's incursion and urged the former civil war foes to recommit to talks.

"Those are provocative and unacceptable actions," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "South Sudan did withdraw from Heglig. It presented an opportunity for Khartoum to resume negotiations and to make real progress between North and South, and we urge both parties to undertake that as soon as possible."

Adding to the pressure for a resolution, the African Union gave Sudan and South Sudan three months to reach a peace deal or face "appropriate measures," AU security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said Tuesday.

Despite the South's withdrawal from the key Heglig field at the weekend, both armies are reportedly reinforcing troop numbers and digging into trenches along their contested border.

Overnight Monday, bomber aircraft hit border villages in the South's Unity state following earlier air strikes on the state capital Bentiu, governor Taban Deng said.

"There are wounded people who have been evacuated to Bentiu hospital, some of them are farmers, some are soldiers," Deng told reporters in Bentiu.

Khartoum has repeatedly denied it has launched air strikes on the South, but United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday deplored the cross-border air raids and called on both nations to prevent the fighting from escalating further.

Kiir was pleading his case to Chinese authorities, but analysts said Beijing was unlikely to take sides and would keep pushing for dialogue.

Border tensions are high, although Deng said that at present "with the exception of aerial bombardment, the front line is quiet."

However, Mac Paul, the South's deputy director of military intelligence, warned he had "information from our sources the Sudanese army is mobilising for a push on Bentiu," claims that could not be confirmed.

Bentiu lies at least 60 kilometres (40 kilometres) from the front line with Sudan's army, and large numbers of Southern troops and tanks have moved into the border zone to bolster defences.

South Sudan has warned it will fight back if Sudan does not end its aerial attacks.

Southerners are furious at what they see as international inaction against Khartoum, after they complied with the demands to withdraw.

"We were asked to withdraw from Heglig: we did. They have been asked to stop the aerial bombardment and incursions into South Sudan: they have not done so," Deng said.

"We are capable of defending ourselves, including going back to Heglig. ... I think you people should take us seriously on this. The underdog can also bite."

Sudan accuses the South of supporting anti-government rebels from its conflict-hit western region of Darfur as well as those fighting in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

US President Barack Obama, while calling on Sudan to cease its aerial bombardments, has said South Sudan "must end its support for armed groups inside Sudan and it must cease its military actions across the border."

Kenya, which helped broker the end of Sudan's 1983-2005 civil war in which an estimated two million people died, called for a ceasefire, with President Mwai Kibaki stressing that Sudan and South Sudan "must not return to war."

The South, which split from Sudan in July 2011 following an independence referendum, denies backing opposition movements in the north, but in turn accuses Khartoum of supporting rebels in its own territory.

The recent violence is the worst since South Sudan won independence after the civil war.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Gasoline prices up, diesel down
    Gasoline prices up, diesel down

    Oil companies announced yesterday a price hike of 50 centavos per liter for gasoline and a rollback of 50 centavos per liter for diesel effective at 6 a.m. today. Independent oil firms were among the first to announce the price adjustment. In an advisory, PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm said it cut diesel prices by 50 centavos per liter and increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter. …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. “Maybe we should not think about getting …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options