Sudan says S. Sudan troops inside its territory
KHARTOUM: Sudan's army accused South Sudan yesterday of having troops on its territory, a sign tensions between the former civil war foes were unlikely to cool despite an international ultimatum to end fighting.
Sudanese Army spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid said the military would abide by a UN-backed African Union call to halt hostilities, in an effort to end weeks of border fighting that has threatened to escalate into a full-blown war. But Khalid said the army had a right to defend its territory from foreign troops.
"We have committed to (the decision). And no shot has been fired from our side and no attacks or raids have been launched ... towards South Sudan," Khalid told Reuters.
"But we have to point out that we are still affected by the presence of the South Sudanese army inside our territories in some areas," he said, naming Kafen Debbi and Samaha in south and east Darfur.
South Sudan's army, the SPLA,
laughed off denied the allegation.
"(Kafen Debbi) was used by ... militia to attack us. And these are inside western Bahr Al-Ghazal, which is part of our territory," SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer said.
"We affirm completely we have no airplanes nor bombardments that have attacked inside South Sudan's territories, even before a month ago. These are just accusations," Khalid said.
Sudan's foreign ministry said in a statement it had informed the African Union and the Security Council of its commitment to halt hostilities with South Sudan. But if they failed to persuade South Sudanese forces withdraw from Sudanese territory, Sudan's "armed forces will find themselves forced to use self-defense to expel the aggressor forces," the statement said.
Aguer said yesterday militiamen allied to the Sudanese Army had defected after they were ordered to attack an oilfield in the Upper Nile state.
"They changed their mind and joined the SPLA," Aguer said from the southern capital Juba. "They were part of SAF (Sudanese armed forces) and joined us with 250 of their men, 10 vehicles, seven of which were mounted with heavy machineguns."
Khalid denied the allegation.
Sudan lost three-quarters of the oil after Juba's secession under a 2005 deal that ended two decades of civil war between the north and south. Heglig, an oilfield that the South seized last month before withdrawing under international pressure, provides Sudan with about half of its 115,000 bpd output.
|Which is why the SPLA seized it, to twist the Sudanese arms good and hard.|
Posted by: Steve White 2012-05-06