17 Southerners ‘killed by Sudan air raids’

Posted: December 29, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

29 December 2011 Last updated at 14:11 ET

A terrified mother looks out of a cave as she takes shelter from an aircraft flying over the hills surrounding Lwere in Sudan's Nuba mountains on 1 July as hundreds of families have fled their villages in South Kordofan following recent bombing by the Sudanese armed forces
Conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes

Seventeen South Sudanese civilians have been killed during air raids by Sudan’s military, an official has told the BBC.

South Sudan’s military spokesman Philip Aguer said those killed were cattle herders in West Bahr al-Ghazal state – further west than other recent clashes.

Sudan has denied the allegations but Col Aguer said no other power in the region could carry out the bombing.

The south seceded from Sudan in July but there have been numerous clashes along their common border.

The UN estimates that several hundred thousand people have been displaced by fighting in the border areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Unity state.

“This [attack in West Bahr al-Ghazal] is a hostile aggression that Khartoum has been conducting against the civilian population,” Col Aguer told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

‘Amassing troops’Sudan’s army had also bombed areas in Unity state since Wednesday, he said.

It wanted to draw up the north-south boundary by force and annex Unity state because it was rich in oil, Col Aguer said.

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Pro-northern and southern groups have clashed in the past in West Bahr al-Ghazal state over grazing and water rights.

Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied they had carried out the air strikes, the AFP news agency reports.

“This information is completely incorrect,” he is quoted as saying.

Mr Saad said South Sudan was, in fact, amassing troops in Unity state to launch attacks across the border.

Both countries accuse each other of backing rebels operating in their territory.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh said that 350 members of a Darfur-based rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) had crossed into South Sudan on Wednesday, AFP reports.

He said the international community should put pressure on South Sudan’s government “to stop supporting these troops and disarm them”, AFP reports.

Jem’s leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed a few days ago by Sudanese government forces.

Sudan’s army said he had been killed in fighting as he tried to cross into South Sudan, but Jem said he died in an air strike.

Various mediation efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, and to ease tension between Sudan and South Sudan, have so far failed, analysts say.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16359310

South Sudan says 17 killed in Sudanese air raids

(AFP) – 

JUBA — Sudanese air raids killed 17 people in the South Sudan border state of Western Bahr al-Ghazal on Thursday, the second day of stepped-up bombing along the northern frontier, Juba’s military spokesman said.

Khartoum dismissed the allegations as “incorrect.”

“Those who are killed are innocent civilians who are looking after their cattle,” South Sudan’s military spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP, adding that the casualties came on the second day of bombing in the Boro El Madina area.

“This information is completely incorrect,” the Sudanese military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in Khartoum.

In a separate statement, Sudan’s foreign ministry alleged that 350 members of Darfur-based rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had crossed into South Sudan on Wednesday.

The ministry’s spokesman, Al-Obeid Meruh, called on the international community to pressure “the government of South Sudan to stop supporting these troops and disarm them.”

South Sudan separated from Sudan in July after an overwhelming vote for independence that followed more than two decades of civil war.

Each side has accused the other of supporting rebels inside its borders.

Aguer said bombing had resumed over the past two days around Jau, a disputed area along the South Kordofan-Unity state border.

There were no casualty reports from that area “because the bombing was intensive,” he said.

“SPLA has placed its forces on maximum alert” since Christmas, he said, referring to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

“The intention of Khartoum is to annex some of these areas.”

Sudan’s military spokesman, Saad, in turn accused South Sudan of building up its own troops in the Jau area to attack inside Sudan.

Access to the areas is restricted, making independent confirmation of the claims difficult.

United Nations peacekeepers are based in South Sudan, but AFP was unable to reach any officials from the mission.

Oil-producing South Kordofan remained under Khartoum’s administration when South Sudan became independent, but fighting since June has pitted Nuba rebels, once allied to rebels in the south, against the Sudanese army.

A conflict also broke out three months later in nearby Blue Nile state.

The UN says 300,000 people have been internally displaced or otherwise severely affected by the fighting in South Kordofan, with 20,000 having fled to South Sudan.

Khartoum’s allegation that JEM rebels had entered South Sudan came days after the killing by government forces of the group’s leader Khalil Ibrahim, creating uncertainty as to the future of what was Darfur’s most heavily armed group.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gnpAfKA17KREJWQ7pHZFbsTYoT2Q?docId=CNG.008f37e075e8246666ba7f1fd81b17b7.61

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