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S.Sudan accuses Khartoum of more border attacks

South Sudan on Wednesday accused Sudan of bombing and shelling seven areas on their disputed border.

South Sudanese flags flutter in Juba. Picture: AFP
Sudan,South Sudan,African Union,United Nations Security Council,Hilary Clinton,Heglig border area,contested Heglig oilfield,Kella Dual Kueth,Bahr el Ghazal
World

JUBA - 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 United Nations-backed ceasefire which 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 outstanding disputes.

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 United Ntaions Security Council resolution which called on both sides to commit to an African Union (AU) peace roadmap.

"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.

United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has called on Sudan to stop all cross-border attacks, including what she called "provocative" aerial bombardments.

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