Archive for April 12, 2012


This is the press statement (Video) by Ambassador Agnes Oswaha, acting South Sudan deputy representative to the UN, on the present precarious situation between South Sudan and Sudan over Heglig.

1. Written statement from RSS deputy representative to the UN

http://paanluelwel2011.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/rss-letter-to-unsc.pdf

http://paanluelwel2011.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/republic-of-south-sudan-letter-to-the-un-security-council/

2. Video of RSS deputy representative to the UN

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/04/representative-of-south-sudan-on-the-situation-in-sudan-security-council-media-stakeout.html

Thanks,

PaanLuel Wel.

UN Council demands end to Sudan, South Sudan clashes

Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:15am GMT
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council demanded on Thursday that Sudan and South Sudan stop border clashes which it said threatened to return the east African neighbors to a full-scale war.
A statement from the 15-nation body also insisted that Khartoum stop air strikes and Juba withdraw troops from a vital oil field.
Fighting along the ill-defined border between the former civil-war foes has led to a standoff over Heglig oil field after it was seized on Tuesday by troops from South Sudan, which declared independence last year.
Distrust runs deeps between the neighbors, who are at loggerheads over the position of their border, how much the landlocked south should pay to transport its oil through Sudan, and the division of national debt, amongst other issues.
“The recent violence threatens to return both countries to full-scale war and the period of tragic loss of life and suffering, destroyed infrastructure, and economic devastation, which they have worked so hard and long to overcome,” a statement from the Security Council said.
“The Security Council demands a complete, immediate, and unconditional: end to all fighting; withdrawal of (South Sudan’s Army) from Heglig; end to (Sudanese Armed Forces) aerial bombardments; end to repeated incidents of cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan; and an end to support by both sides to proxies in the other country,” it said.
The Council demanded that both countries redeploy their forces 6 miles (10 km) outside a north/south borderline determined in 1956 and take immediate steps to establish a safe demilitarized border zone.
It termed the situation a “serious threat to international peace and security” and warned it would take further steps as necessary, but gave no details on what those might include.
South Sudan has accused Sudan of launching air strikes on some of its major oilfields. Sudan has denied launching air strikes but said its ground forces had attacked southern artillery positions that had fired on the north.
Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said South Sudan must heed to the U.N. call.
“If they don’t … we will reserve our right to exercise the right of self-defense and we will chase them out,” he told reporters. “Not only that we will hit deep inside the south.”
Osman described claims of aerial bombardments of South Sudan by Sudan as “fiction.”
South Sudan’s U.N. envoy Agnes Oswaha told reporters Juba supported the U.N. call for an end to the fighting and was prepared to negotiate with Khartoum.
However, she added: “This can only come about if the outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan … are resolved immediately.”
Oswaha said South Sudan would withdraw from the Heglig oil field provided a “mechanism was put in place to guarantee the area could not be used to launch further attacks against South Sudan” and a neutral international force was deployed to the area until the neighbors reached a settlement on the disputed territory.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, six months after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war that killed more than 2 million people.
© Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
WorldLeadersTV: SYRIA, DPR KOREA, SOUTH-SUDAN & SUDAN: KEY CONCERNS: UN SG BAN 
MaximsNewsNetwork
Ban also said that he’s gravely concerned about the escalating conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, urging the governments of both countries to negotiate a durable solution to their differences.
Sudan and South Sudan teeter on the edge of war
Los Angeles Times
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa –- Sudan and South Sudan teetered dangerously on the edge of war Thursday after South Sudan refused to withdraw its troops from a disputed border area despite calls to do so by the United Nations and African Union.

South Sudan Refuses Border Town Withdrawal
Journal of Turkish Weekly
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir says his troops will remain in the disputed area of Heglig, raising fears that the country and northern neighbor Sudan are moving ever closer to war. The president addressed parliament Thursday.

SUDAN

Kalle Eko/MEDILL

The board of directors of the Sudanese Community Association of Illinois meets after surveying space for the new Sudanese Community Center in Rogers Park on Friday.

BY KALLE EKO

APRIL 10, 2012

Chicago Bulls NBA All-Star Luol Deng and the Sudanese Community Association of Illinois will open a Sudanese community center in Rogers Park in late April. But as the center opens, some of Chicago’s Lost Boys, who have been instrumental in securing the space, are contemplating their future in the United States.In a converted warehouse that is the home of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, 1730 W. Greenleaf, the Sudanese community will open a space on April 22. Deng, a member of the Sudanese Community Association’s board of directors, has lent his name to a number of events benefiting the Sudanese diaspora in Chicago and abroad.Erku Yimer, executive director of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, said that the building’s 19,000 square feet of space offer both groups plenty of room to provide resources and host community events. As a welcoming gesture to the Sudanese community, the Ethiopian Community Association does not expect to charge it for the first three months of their tenure in the facility.

“It’s a perfect space because of its large size,” said Sean Tenner, a Sudanese Community Association board member who has spent years volunteering for the local community and was instrumental in helping secure the space. “It’s the fact that there is a computer lab, English classes, job training, daycare and other education services.”

But the center’s opening comes at a critical juncture for some of the people most involved in acquiring the center. Many of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who comprise the majority of the community association’s executive board, are contemplating whether to return to newly independent South Sudan a decade after they came to the United States.

After fleeing war in their homeland when they were young boys in the late 1980s, the Lost Boys walked a thousand miles across Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. Of the approximately 20,000 who left Sudan, it is estimated that half perished before reaching refugee camps. Those who made it spent over decade living in camps across East Africa, where they became known by refugee workers as the Lost Boys of Sudan.

In 2001, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, helped resettle 3,800 of the Lost Boys in a number of towns across the United States, where they struggled to adjust to American life.

Peter Magai Bul was one of the 150 who came to Chicago. He fled Sudan in 1988 at the age of 7 and eventually found himself in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. He was resettled in Edgewater in 2001 after living his entire life in rural Sudan and in refugee camps.

“Everything was just confusing, from turning on the light to using the stove,” said Magai Bul, who is currently a student at Northeastern Illinois University and serving as the assistant secretary of the Sudanese association. “The biggest problem is that we didn’t have any job experience.”

But a decade after resettlement, many of Chicago’s Lost Boys found a community in Chicago, went on to earn college degrees and created foundations in Sudan. Magai Bul has invested effort and secured money from local benefactors to build the Pongborong Primary School in Jonglei State, South Sudan. He and other Lost Boys raised funds for the Rogers Park center mostly through public speaking engagements.

Lori Handrahan, a lecturer in the School of International Service at American University, said that the resettlement of the Lost Boys has been thoroughly beneficial for both the United States and the new Republic of South Sudan. A former UN consultant in East Africa, Handrahan said that Lost Boys in the United States will be instrumental in building South Sudan.

“The Lost Boys are a really good story of why America benefits when we take in refugees,” Handrahan said. “They thrived and survived in the face of extreme pain and are now going home and rebuilding people’s lives.”

The center mirrors the broad ambitions of the Lost Boys to serve the local Sudanese community well beyond their South Sudanese community. It is their hope that refugees fleeing the continued instability in Darfur, the Nuba region and elsewhere in Sudan will seek the center’s services.

“We have to come together as a community, not just the Lost Boys,” said John Kuol, a board member and master’s student in accounting at Robert Morris University. “All the opportunities that have been available to me, I feel obligated to bring back to the community.”

While the Sudanese community once had a center in suburban Wheaton, the new Rogers Park center will be more centrally located to serve the majority of the area’s Sudanese diaspora that lives in Chicago. The Lost Boys see the Sudanese Community Center as a starting point to coalesce Chicago’s Sudanese diaspora and bring stability to their homeland.

A number of the Lost Boys have visited their homeland decades after leaving, but most say that permanently returning to South Sudan is still far off. Despite issues finding employment in the United States, many are now American citizens and feel that they are better able to help by marshaling funds and resources from abroad.

“My plan is to be back and forth,” said Malual Awak, president of the Sudanese Community Association. “I have two homes: One is in Southern Sudan, one is in Chicago.”


By Gatkuoth Deng – USA

I am deeply concerned by the unexpected silence and failure by South Sudan to clearly explain its version on the history of Heglig (Panthou), which is the oil-rich area near the borders with Sudan and currently being contested between South Sudan and Sudan.

Sudan has explained its fabricated justifications over Heglig ownership to the point that it has almost convinced the international community that Heglig is actually part of Sudan, and that South Sudan is an aggressor trying to occupy and annex the Sudanese territory from across the international border.

It is a well-known fact that Heglig (Panthou) belongs to the Dinka ethnic group of Pariang County in Unity state. The area is also inhabited by Nuer who dwell with their cousins, the Dinka, in the area for centuries.

In 1980s the former dictator and Sudanese president, Jaafer Mohamed Nimeiri, upon discovery of oil in the area of Heglig in Unity state, decided to annex it to South Kordofan in the North in violation of the 1956 borders between the two regions (North and South Sudan). There was no effort made to politically or legally resolve the issue with the then Southern Sudan region as war broke out in 1983.

Shortly before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the two regions in 2005, the SPLM leadership in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, conceded the area to Abyei after heated dispute with Unity state. It was not clear why the SPLM decided to take away the ownership of the area from Unity state to the Dinka Ngok of Abyei. Instead of confirming its ownership to Unity state as stood in the 1956 North-South boundaries, the movement offered it to Abyei in South Kordofan.

However, during the determination and demarcation of the Abyei territory and boundaries in 2009 in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the court found that Heglig was not historically part of Abyei. The court ruled that the area fell outside the territorial boundaries of Abyei, but fell short to further rule where the area belonged to between Unity state and the rest of South Kordofan.

South Sudan expects that Heglig will come back to Unity state when the North-South border demarcation is done since history in the court ruling has proven SPLM wrong when it emotionally conceded it to Abyei in 2004.

While Sudan is doing its outmost to convince the international community that Heglig belongs to them, South Sudan is virtually doing nothing to equally create counter international awareness about its historical ownership of the land.

I wonder why such institutions and leaders such as the ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nhial Deng Nhial, plus his diplomats abroad and the minister of Information, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin are not telling the world about the true version of the history. Now the Sudan seems to be winning the support of the African Union, the United Nations and friendly countries such as the US by making them believe that Heglig is their land and that it was only invaded and occupied by South Sudan this week.

Something must be terribly wrong with the failure to create international awareness about not only Heglig, but also other South Sudanese territories which are being claimed and occupied by Sudan.

*Gatkuoth Deng is a political activist living in the United States of America (USA). He can be reached at: gatkuothlam@yahoo.com

http://www.southsudannation.com/disputeoverhegligandfailure%20gatkuothdeng%2078.htm

New fighting pushes Sudan, South Sudan closer to war

Posted: April 12, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

AFPBy Hannah McNeish | AFP –

Sudan and South Sudan edged more closely to all-out war on Wednesday than at any time since the South seceded last year, amidborder clashes and calls by both sides to mobilise.

The African Union said it was “deeply alarmed” by the worsening violence between the former civil war foes, but its efforts to mediate were set back when a furious Sudan pulled out of AU-led talks.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon urged South Sudan President Salva Kiir to meet with his rival from the north to head off all-out war as the US State Department urged both sides to end “all hostilities”.

Amid heavy artillery bombardments and airstrikes in the battle zone, Sudan called the South’s seizure of the contested oil-producing Heglig region the worst violation of its territory yet.

The African Union in a statement expressed “grave concern at the escalating armed conflict on the border between Sudan and South Sudan and calls upon both parties to exercise utmost restraint”.

It noted “with alarm the occupation of Heglig by the armed forces of the Republic of South Sudan” and called for their “immediate and unconditional withdrawal”.

Southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said late Wednesday, the second day of fighting, that the battles were continuing, and that his troops had “passed Heglig,” without elaborating.

Khartoum’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Rahma Mohammed Osman claimed the Southern soldiers had pushed 70 kilometres (45 miles) into Sudan.

Parliaments in Juba and Khartoum called on citizens to prepare for war.

“Khartoum might be meaning a real war… If you don’t defend yourself, you will be finished, so you should go and mobilise the people on (the) ground to be ready,” South Sudanese Speaker James Wani Igga told parliament.

“It’s an ugly development at the border. We have to be vigilant to all the points as they are attacking us in all corners,” added Igga, also deputy chairman of the South’s ruling party, to loud applause by lawmakers.

Sudan’s parliament called for a “mobilisation and alert” of the population, and halted AU-led talks with Juba over their protracted dispute over oil, border demarcation, contested areas and citizenship issues.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had already issued a decree forming a high-level committee for mobilisation on March 26, the same day a series of border clashes began, sparking international fears of full blown war.

The committee was tasked with preparing training camps for the paramilitary People’s Defence Force, a pro-Khartoum militia which carried out some of the worst attacks during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

The clashes follow border fighting that erupted last month between the neighbours. Each side has blamed the other for starting the hostilities.

On Tuesday, an AFP correspondent on the South Sudanese frontline heard heavy artillery shelling and multiple air strikes for around an hour, with one bomb dropped by aircraft less than a kilometre away.

On Wednesday, the hospital in Bentiu, capital of the South’s Unity state, was full of wounded soldiers from the frontline, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) away.

Major South Sudanese troop movements were seen close to the frontier, with convoys heading up to the frontline near Heglig, an area Juba claims but which makes up a key part of Khartoum’s oil production.

International concerns have risen at the risk of war, and South Sudan’s neighbour Uganda called for a return to dialogue, with fears that conflict would have a devastating impact on the wider region.

“We don’t believe that this violence will solve anything,” said Ugandan regional affairs minister Asuman Kiyingi, adding that Kampala was working to bring the rivals back to the negotiation table.

The UN secretary general spoke with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on ways to halt the collision course, said his spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The UN leader told Kiir that “before undertaking a discussion on the causes of the escalation, the immediate priority is to de-escalate the situation to avoid any further bloodshed,” Nesirky told reporters.

Khartoum has vowed to react with “all means” against a three-pronged attack it said South Sudanese forces had launched against Sudan’s South Kordofan state, including the Heglig oil field.

A statement on Khartoum’s official SUNA news agency warned of “destruction” in South Sudan. Khartoum also claimed Southern forces were backed by rebel groups in Sudan, an allegation rejected by the fighters.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens of each nation living in the territory of the other country are also facing uncertain futures after a deadline requiring them to formalise their status expired at the weekend.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gVTp6W9QOoCSwsmbcC5tavyntjhw?docId=CNG.a4e5ddba3cda3340fcb14e148a4415cf.941


April 12, 2012 

Agence France Presse
Photo taken on April 3, shows the shell of a vehicle that was hit by a bomb in the abandoned village of Trogi during fighting in South Kordofan, Sudan. (AFP photo/Adrianne OHANESIAN)
Photo taken on April 3, shows the shell of a vehicle that was hit by a bomb in the abandoned village of Trogi during fighting in South Kordofan, Sudan. (AFP photo/Adrianne OHANESIAN)

KHARTOUM: Heavy fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile state has killed 13 government soldiers and one rebel, the insurgents said on Thursday but Khartoum’s military denied the death toll.

In a statement, rebels said their ambush and subsequent six-hour battle on Tuesday, 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the state capital Damazin, also wounded 17 government troops and three insurgents from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

Access to the region is restricted and such figures cannot be verified.

The reported fighting came on the same day that Sudanese and South Sudanese forces resumed clashes along their border, bringing them closest to a return to outright war.

South Sudan separated last July in an overwhelming “yes” vote after decades of war.

The South denies Khartoum’s claim that it supports the SPLM-N, ethnic rebels who have been battling the government since last year in Blue Nile and South Korfodan states.

Sudan’s army spokesman, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said rebel scout teams have clashed with government troops in Blue Nile but were defeated.

Khartoum has cited security concerns in placing tight restrictions on the operations of foreign relief agencies in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The United Nations says the fighting has displaced or severely affected 350,000 people.

United States officials have warned that about 250,000 people could soon go hungry in the region.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Apr-12/170073-14-dead-in-sudan-clashes-rebels.ashx#ixzz1rr7bZy7R
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


By Dan Campana For The Beacon-News

Story ImageGareng Deng / photo from Kane County State’s Attorney’s office

ST. CHARLES — Almost exactly six years after Marilyn Bethell disappeared from her Aurora home, a judge told the man who pleaded guilty to her murder he can’t change his mind.

Gareng Deng told Judge Allen Anderson last week that he was confused about how much prison time he would serve in exchange for admitting to the murder in 2009 and that he was not effectively represented by his attorney at the time. On Wednesday afternoon, Anderson — who presided over the plea — said he found no evidence to support 20-year-old Deng’s claims.

“The defendant understood what he was doing,” Anderson said.

Deng, who is serving with 35-year prison sentence, was ordered to return to prison while an appeal of Anderson’s ruling is filed. Deng most recently was held in the Menard Correctional Center.

Deng was born in war-torn Sudan, and his family came to the U.S. in 2000. He was 14 on Halloween 2005, when he was seen jumping out of Bethell’s car after it smashed into a parked car near her house. Bethell lived on the far north side of Aurora and worked as a substance abuse counselor in Hoffman Estates. Police investigating the crash went to her house and found it empty.

About two months later, her body was found off a nearby trail. She had been shot in the head, then left in the woods.

Almost immediately Deng was a suspect in the case. He had been charged with 11 crimes as a juvenile and participated in two shootings, prosecutors have said.

After he was charged with Bethell’s murder, Deng’s family hired Joliet attorney Eric Mitchell. Last week, Deng testified that Mitchell never came to see him while he was in the youth home and only visited him once in jail. Deng said he was only made aware of the prosecutor’s plea deal a few days before he accepted it. Deng said Mitchell assured him he would only have to served half the sentence, although state law requires convicted murderers to serve all their time. Deng said he walked away from sentencing thinking he had agreed to serve half his sentence.

Deng said he tried to ask a question during the sentencing, but was not able to.

In his ruling, Anderson noted Deng’s “more than occasional familiarity” with the court system as a counter to Deng’s claims he was too nervous or intimidated to speak up with concerns during his 2009 plea hearing. At that time, Anderson asked Deng whether he understood he would have to serve all of his sentence, and Deng said he did.

Anderson also pointed out transcripts from that hearing included several references to Deng serving 100 percent of his prison sentence, something he contended he didn’t know when agreeing to the plea. Lastly, Deng had “several means” of communication to his family and attorney to ask questions about the agreement.

“I thought the law was certainly on our side,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason said after the hearing, adding the state was prepared to go to trial if Anderson had vacated Deng’s guilty plea.

Deborah Eastman, who attended the hearing with Bethell relatives and friends, said she “very glad, very relieved” by the judge’s decision.

Two Deng supporters declined to comment outside the courtroom.

http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/news/8432167-418/judge-denies-teen-new-trial-in-bethell-murder.html

Judge to rule on withdrawing guilty plea in Aurora woman’s murder

By Matt Hanley mhanley@stmedianetwork.com 

Gareng Deng / photo from Kane County State’s Attorney’s office

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP — Kane County Judge Allen Anderson is expected to rule Wednesday on whether Garang Deng understood what he had agreed to when he pleaded guilty to the 2005 murder of Marilyn Bethell.

Deng was sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of the Aurora woman in 2009, when he was 17 years old. At a hearing Friday in Kane County Court, Deng testified that his lawyer led him to believe that he would only have to serve half of that sentence and rarely met with him leading up to the plea deal. Prosecutors argued that Deng understood what was happening and was told repeatedly he would have to serve all of the 35-year sentence.

Deng was born in war-torn Sudan. His family came to the U.S. in 2000. He was 14 on Halloween 2005, when he was seen jumping out of Bethell’s car after it smashed into a parked car on Aurora’s far East Side.

Bethell lived on the far north side of Aurora and worked as a substance abuse counselor in Hoffman Estates. Police investigating the crash went to her house and found it empty.

About two months later, her body was found off a trail behind her home. She had been shot in the head, then left in the woods.

Almost immediately Deng was a suspect in the case. He had been charged with 11 crimes as a juvenile and participated in two shootings, prosecutors said.

After he was charged, Deng’s family hired Joliet attorney Eric Mitchell. On Friday, Deng testified that Mitchell never came to see him while he was in the youth home and only visited him once in jail. Deng said he was only made aware of the prosecutor’s plea deal a few days before he accepted it. Deng said Mitchell assured him he would only have to served half the sentence, although state law now requires convicted murderers to serve all their time. Deng said he walked away from sentencing thinking he had agreed to serve half his sentence.

“The whole time I was kind confused,” he said. Mitchell “hardly would ever talk to me about my case. I didn’t know what was going on with my case.”

Deng said during the sentencing, he tried to raise his hand to ask a question, but was not acknowledged. Less than six days later, he withdrew his plea.

“I thought I understood … but I didn’t,” he said Friday. “Some of the stuff I was just saying, ‘yep’ or ‘yeah’ to get through it.”

Mitchell rarely communicated with Deng’s parents, other than a few minutes after court, Deng’s mother said. He never met with the family in his office or elsewhere to talk about the case, she said.

On Friday, Deng appeared nervous or confused on the stand, frequently contradicting himself or agreeing with whoever was questioning him at the time. Anderson tried to get Deng to pinpoint at exactly what point he tried to raise his hand, but Deng gave two answers and admitted he wasn’t sure.

Prosecutors pointed out Deng had been in trouble with the law before and understood the basics of the legal system. And in 2009, when Anderson asked Deng whether he understood he would have to serve all of his sentence, Deng replied yes.

Anderson expects to issue a ruling on whether to overturn the plea at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. If he overturns the plea, Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason said she will ask for a trial to be scheduled.

http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/news/8342158-418/judge-to-rule-on-withdrawing-guilty-plea-in-aurora-womans-murder.html

South Sudan rejects UN appeal to withdraw troops

Posted: April 12, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan
Tags:

“I told him you do not need to order me because I am not under your command. I am a head of state accountable to my people and do not have to be ordered by someone I do not fall under his direct command. I will not withdraw the troops,” President kiir Mayardit to the UN Chief, Bank Ki Moon.
South Sudan Says Won’t Withdraw Troops
by The Associated Press
JUBA, South Sudan April 12, 2012, 08:27 am ET
JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s president said Thursday that the nation will not withdraw its troops that this week entered a disputed border region with Sudan.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir spoke to parliament in the midst of escalating clashes along the border with Sudan. He said the country’s military would also re-enter another disputed area, Abyei, currently occupied by Sudan if the United Nations does not urge Sudan to withdraw.
Troops from South Sudan on Wednesday captured the oil-rich border town of Heglig that is claimed by Sudan, whose troops withdrew under the onslaught. Kiir said that South Sudan’s military forces, the SPLA, had also advanced past Heglig after occupying it.
“They pursued them up to the so called Heglig. But these forces did not stop in Heglig, there was not fighting in Heglig,” he said.
Heglig has been the focal point of more than two weeks of clashes between the two nations. Both sides claim the area, but Sudan operates Heglig’s oil facilities, which account for nearly half of the country’s daily production. The town is 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the disputed region of Abyei, whose fate was left unresolved when South Sudan split last year from Sudan.
Fighting along the north-south border has been near constant over the past two weeks. On Thursday, South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing the capital of Unity State, Bentiu.
SPLA spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said that Antonov aircraft belonging to Sudan dropped five bombs on a bridge linking Bentiu to neighboring Rubkotna. The two towns comprise Unity State’s most populated area.
“This is an indiscriminate bombing,” and according to initial reports one civilian was killed and four were wounded in the attack, Aguer said.
President Kiir said he had received numerous appeals from the international community to withdraw SPLA troops from the disputed territory, including a call from United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.
“Last night I never slept because of the telephone calls,” he said. “Those who have been calling me — starting with the U.N. secretary-general yesterday — he gave me an order that I’m ordering you to immediately withdraw from Heglig. I said I’m not under your command,” Kiir said.
The military advance by South Sudan into territory it claims but which is internationally recognized as Sudan’s brought swift condemnation from the United States and Britain. Both nations, along with the U.N. Security Council, urged South Sudan to withdraw from the town of Heglig and condemned the bombings of South Sudan territory by Sudan.
Kiir said he also urged the U.N. secretary-general to re-engage Sudan on the disputed territory of Abyei.
“We withdrew from Abyei. Bashir occupied Abyei and is still there up to today,” Kiir said. “I told the secretary-general that if you are not moving out with this force of Bashir, we are going to reconsider our position and we are going back to Abyei.”
Fighting erupted in Abyei between Sudan and South Sudan May of last year, just months before South Sudan formally declared independence from Sudan.
The region was to hold a referendum in January to decide whether it stays with Sudan or joins a newly independent South. But the vote was postponed indefinitely amid disagreements over who would be eligible to vote.
The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, most of whom are still waiting to return.
The continued clashes have dimmed hopes for a resolution between the two countries on a host of issues left over from their July split, including oil-sharing, citizenship issues and the demarcation of the border.
South Sudan president says nation won’t withdraw troops from disputed border region with Sudan
By Associated Press: Thursday, April 12
JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan’s president said Thursday that the nation will not withdraw its troops that this week entered a disputed border region with Sudan.South Sudan President Salva Kiir spoke to parliament in the midst of escalating clashes along the border with Sudan. He said the country’s military would also re-enter another disputed area, Abyei, currently occupied by Sudan if the United Nations does not urge Sudan to withdraw.
Troops from South Sudan on Wednesday captured the oil-rich border town of Heglig that is claimed by Sudan, whose troops withdrew under the onslaught. Kiir said that South Sudan’s military forces, the SPLA, had also advanced past Heglig after occupying it.“They pursued them up to the so called Heglig. But these forces did not stop in Heglig, there was not fighting in Heglig,” he said.Heglig has been the focal point of more than two weeks of clashes between the two nations. Both sides claim the area, but Sudan operates Heglig’s oil facilities, which account for nearly half of the country’s daily production. The town is 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the disputed region of Abyei, whose fate was left unresolved when South Sudan split last year from Sudan.Fighting along the north-south border has been near constant over the past two weeks. On Thursday, South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing the capital of Unity State, Bentiu.

SPLA spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said that Antonov aircraft belonging to Sudan dropped five bombs on a bridge linking Bentiu to neighboring Rubkotna. The two towns comprise Unity State’s most populated area.

“This is an indiscriminate bombing,” and according to initial reports one civilian was killed and four were wounded in the attack, Aguer said.

President Kiir said he had received numerous appeals from the international community to withdraw SPLA troops from the disputed territory, including a call from United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.

“Last night I never slept because of the telephone calls,” he said. “Those who have been calling me — starting with the U.N. secretary-general yesterday — he gave me an order that I’m ordering you to immediately withdraw from Heglig. I said I’m not under your command,” Kiir said.

The military advance by South Sudan into territory it claims but which is internationally recognized as Sudan’s brought swift condemnation from the United States and Britain. Both nations, along with the U.N. Security Council, urged South Sudan to withdraw from the town of Heglig and condemned the bombings of South Sudan territory by Sudan.

Kiir said he also urged the U.N. secretary-general to re-engage Sudan on the disputed territory of Abyei.

“We withdrew from Abyei. Bashir occupied Abyei and is still there up to today,” Kiir said. “I told the secretary-general that if you are not moving out with this force of Bashir, we are going to reconsider our position and we are going back to Abyei.”

Fighting erupted in Abyei between Sudan and South Sudan May of last year, just months before South Sudan formally declared independence from Sudan.

The region was to hold a referendum in January to decide whether it stays with Sudan or joins a newly independent South. But the vote was postponed indefinitely amid disagreements over who would be eligible to vote.

The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, most of whom are still waiting to return.

The continued clashes have dimmed hopes for a resolution between the two countries on a host of issues left over from their July split, including oil-sharing, citizenship issues and the demarcation of the border.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/south-sudan-president-says-nation-wont-withdraw-troops-from-disputed-border-region-with-sudan/2012/04/12/gIQAOaaYCT_story.html

President Salva Kiir dismisses secretary-general’s request to withdraw from Heglig and says his forces may enter Abyei.
 
12 Apr 2012
South Sudan’s president has said his nation will not withdraw its troops that this week entered a disputed border region with Sudan.Salva Kiir, president of South Sudan, spoke to parliament on Thursday in the midst of escalating clashes along the border with Sudan and the bombing of a bridge outside Beintu in which one soldier was killed and two others injured.”[The UN Secretary General] gave me an order,” Kir said. “He said I order you to immediately withdraw from Heglig. I said I’m not under your command.”Kir also said the country’s military would also re-enter another disputed area, Abyei, currently occupied by Sudan if the UN does not urge Sudan to withdraw.Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Juba, the South Sudanese capital, said that South Sudan wants an international mechanism in place before they withdraw from Heglig.

“The president of South Sudan is not going to budge on this,” she said. “If bombardment continues, the South Sudanese will go into the tow on Abyei, and this is of extreme concern to the international community.”

On Wednesday, troops from South Sudan captured the oil-rich border town of Heglig that is claimed by Sudan, whose troops withdrew under the onslaught.

Kiir said that South Sudan’s military forces, the SPLA, had also advanced past Heglig after occupying it.

“They pursued them up to the so-called Heglig. But these forces did not stop in Heglig, there was not fighting in Heglig,” he said.

Sudanese warplanes attacked a major South Sudanese town at dawn, bombing the capital of the oil-producing Unity border state, according to South Sudan officials.

The aircraft targeted a strategic bridge on the Rubkhona airstrip just outside Beintu town close to a UN compound, which lies about 60km from the frontier as clashes between the recently separated nations continued for a third day.

One soldier was killed and two others injured in the attack.

‘Choosing the path of war’

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused South Sudan of “choosing the path of war,” following days of intensifying clashes on their shared border.

“Our brothers in South Sudan have chosen the path of war, implementing plans dictated by foreign parties who supported them during the civil war,” Bashir told reporters, referring to decades of conflict before the South’s independence last year.

“War is not in the interest of either South Sudan or Sudan but, unfortunately, our brothers in the South are thinking neither of the interests of Sudan or of South Sudan.”

The military advances by South Sudan and the Sudanese air raids brought condemnation from the UN Security Council as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on both sides to withdraw from the other side’s territory and said he was “alarmed by the escalation in fighting”.

Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, said he had filed a complaint to the Security Council condemning the “heinous attack” on Heglig.

“We will decide to retaliate, and retaliate severely, deep inside South Sudan if the Security Council doesn’t address the situation”, Ali Osman told reporters.

A statement on Khartoum’s official SUNA news agency warned of “destruction” in South Sudan.

Focal point of fighting

Heglig lies along the disputed border between the two African nations and has been the focal point of nearly two weeks of clashes between their armies, which have prompted the collapse of African Union-mediated talks.

The region is home to oil fields that account for about half of Sudan’s oil production, a critical source of income for the country’s flagging economy.

The two rivals fought a civil war that lasted decades, and never reached a deal to share the region’s oil resources or delineate their exact border during negotiations which led to South Sudan’s cessation last year.

A 2009 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague placed Heglig in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan region. But South Sudan has disputed the ruling, asserting that the region is in South Sudan’s Unity State.

South Sudan’s army said it moved into Heglig on Tuesday after repelling an attack launched by Sudanese Armed Forces against a position near the border town of Teshwin.

Bashir was scheduled to visit South Sudan for a summit April 3, but the talks were scrapped in the wake of the clashes.

Barack Obama, the US president, earlier this month called Kiir to ensure that South Sudan’s military exercised maximum restraint and was not involved in, or supporting, fighting along the border.

In a statement, the African Union called upon both countries to resolve all outstanding issues “in a peaceful way in accordance with the overriding principle of establishing two viable states in Sudan and South Sudan”.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/04/2012412141645572913.html