Fierce clashes in Sudan as talks near

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 10:05

Juba: Sudanese aircraft and ground troops
attacked multiple positions in South Sudan`s oil rich border regions but were repulsed after fierce battles, Southern President Salva Kiir charged as he warned of war.

"This morning the (Sudanese) airforce came and bombed...
areas in Unity state," Kiir said yesterday, adding his troops
had fought back and taken the key northern oil field of
Heglig.

"After this intensive bombardment our forces.... were
attacked by SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) and militia," he added,
speaking at the opening of a ruling party meeting in the
southern capital Juba.

"It is a war that has been imposed on us again, but it is
they (Khartoum) who are looking for it," said Kiir, adding
that he did not want conflict to resume.

However Sudanese army spokesman, Sawarmi Khaled Saad,
said only "limited clashes" had occurred between his forces
and those of South Sudan along the disputed border between the
two countries.
Saad also claimed rebels from Sudan`s war-torn western
Darfur region, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had
"exploited this clash" to target the armed forces in the
Heglig area. They were repulsed, he said.

Border tensions have mounted since South Sudan split from
Sudan in July after decades of war to become the world`s
newest nation, with each side accusing the other of backing
proxy rebel forces against it.

Khartoum threatened retaliation in February and early
March after accusing the South of backing rebel attacks in
disputed border areas, amidst a furious dispute over oil
transit fees with Juba.

Air strikes followed on an oilfield in the South`s Unity
State, an attack Juba blamed on Khartoum`s forces.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 10:05

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