Last Updated: Wed May 09, 2012 10:34 am (KSA) 07:34 am (GMT)

Sudan war planes bomb South’s civilian areas, violating U.N. resolution: army

SPLA-N fighters practice with an anti-tank cannon near Jebel Kwo village in the rebel-held territory of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. (Reuters)
SPLA-N fighters practice with an anti-tank cannon near Jebel Kwo village in the rebel-held territory of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. (Reuters)

Sudanese war planes have launched renewed air strikes against South Sudan, violating a U.N. Security Council resolution to end weeks of a bitter border conflict, the South’s army said Wednesday.

“The Republic of Sudan has been randomly bombarding civilian areas,” said Southern army spokesman Kella Kueth, who said the air strikes hit the border states of Upper Nile, Unity and Western Bahr al-Ghazal on Monday and Tuesday.

It was not possible to independently confirm the reports of bombing, and Sudan has repeatedly denied it has bombed the South.

“The people of Khartoum, they just deny,” Kueth said, adding that both fighter jets and Antonov airplanes carried the air raids, according to AFP.

A border war with South Sudan began in late March, escalating with waves of Sudanese air strikes (AFP)

Both sides say they are complying with a United Nations Security Council resolution which ordered them to stop fighting from last Friday, after international concern the rivals could return to all-out war.

A border war with South Sudan began in late March, escalating with waves of Sudanese air strikes against South Sudanese territory and the South's 10-day seizure of the Heglig oil field from Khartoum’s army.

The South’s army confirmed it had pulled back 10 kilometers (six miles) south of the contested border line, in accordance with the U.N. deadline Wednesday to do so.

“Yes, we have done so... but we are focusing on the bombing,” Kueth added.

The U.N. resolution threatens additional non-military sanctions if either side fails to meet its conditions, including ordering Sudan to halt air strikes.

The reported attacks come as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits South Sudan to discuss the protection of civilians affected by the border fighting.

Meanwhile, rebels in Sudan’s western Darfur region said on Tuesday they had seized control of a town from Sudanese government troops, part of their campaign to topple President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's government.

“Our forces entered Girayda, south of Nyala, and took over the garrison completely,” Abdullah Mursal, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction led by Minni Minnawi, said, according to Reuters.

“We want to bring the downfall of the regime. And to do that we have to take over cities before we reach Khartoum,” he added.

The two rebel factions involved in the attack formed an alliance -- called the Sudanese Revolutionary Front -- with other fighters in Sudan’s southern border states late last year.

Sudan accuses South Sudan -- which became independent from Khartoum last year after a protracted civil war -- of secretly backing some rebels, an allegation Juba denies.

The two former civil war foes have clashed repeatedly in the last month along their shared border and remain locked in a conflict over oil revenues, border demarcation and citizenship that has threatened to escalate into a full-blown war.

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 roils the territory.

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