Clashes break out in Sudan’s South Kordofan

Posted: February 26, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Sudan
Tags: , , , , ,

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – South Sudanese and Sudanese forces clashed in a poorly-defined border area on Sunday, the Sudanese military said, the latest outbreak of violence to put a recently signed non-aggression pact into question.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry described the clashes as “a direct and blatant attack on Sudan’s sovereignty and security” that violated all international norms, and said it would file a fresh complaint at the United Nations Security Council.

“Forces from South Sudan and rebels from South Kordofan attacked at 3 a.m. in the area of Baheyret al-Abayd,” Sudan’s military spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid told Reuters.

“Fighting is still going on,” he said. “The government in the South is not abiding by the deal.”

Khalid was referring to a non-aggression pact signed by both governments earlier this month, brokered by the African Union to allay fears that rising tensions since the South’s secession last July could escalate into war.

In a statement published by the Sudanese state news agency the Foreign Ministry said: “We will file a new complaint to the Security Council and the African Union to inform them of the details of the events and demand that they have a role in deterring any assault on the security and stability of Sudan.”

In a further sign of continued unrest, the Darfur-based rebel Justice and Equality Movement said it had taken control of Jau, a region claimed by both sides, in a joint attack with forces of the South Sudanese Sudan People’s Liberation Movement

(SPLM).

Relations between the two countries have plunged after talks failed to halt an oil export dispute, end violence in border areas and resolve other issues relating to the secession.

CLASHES

Juba and Khartoum routinely trade accusations of sponsoring insurgencies in each other’s territory. In December, the two armies clashed in Jau, which is close to many of the South’s oil fields and abuts the South Kordofan state where Sunday’s clashes occurred.

Earlier this month, the Security Council called on Sudan and rebels in areas bordering South Sudan to grant immediate access for U.N. aid workers to the turbulent region.

Fighting has been raging for months between the Sudanese army and rebels from the SPLM-North, which wants to topple the Khartoum government, in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, adjacent to newly-independent South Sudan.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile are home to tens of thousands of fighters who battled Khartoum as part of the southern army during a civil war that ended in 2005. Khartoum accuses Juba of continuing to back the insurgents, which South Sudan denies.

The fighting in recent months has forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, according to the United Nations.

(Reporting by Khaled Abdel Aziz; Writing by Dina Zayed in Cairo; Editing by Sophie Hares)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-sudan-clashestre81p0fp-20120226,0,3673476.story

Sudan rebel front claims attack in South Kordofan


Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North has been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states

Rebels in a “revolutionary front” aimed at toppling the Khartoum regime on Sunday claimed their first joint attack against government forces, but the army blamed troops from South Sudan instead.

Rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which for several months has been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states along the border with South Sudan, combined with Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) insurgents from the western region of Darfur, spokesmen for both groups said.

One analyst has dismissed the Revolutionary Front as “just a name,” but an SPLM-N spokesman said the joint attack — albeit with a small JEM component — showed their commitment to work together.

“We are not just talking. We are doing it,” Arnu Ngutulu Lodi of SPLM-N told AFP.

Last November, both rebel groups joined with factions of Darfur’s Sudan Liberation Army to form the front dedicated to “popular uprising and armed rebellion” against the National Congress Party government in Khartoum.

“This attack is under the umbrella of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front,” JEM spokesman Gibril Adam Bilal told AFP.

He said Sunday’s offensive happened at Jau, a disputed area in an oil-rich region on the poorly defined border.

Sudan Armed Forces spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad confirmed that the area had come under attack, but he blamed the forces of South Sudan for the incident.

“This attack was completely planned and sponsored by the government of South Sudan,” he said.

“The fighting is going on now.”

Neither side could immediately give casualty figures.

Access to the state is restricted, making independent verification difficult.

Adam said the rebels had overrun the Sudanese position and seized weapons from them at Jau, “and now we are surrounding them in Taruje,” about 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Jau.

The Sudanese army spokesman said the attack came six kilometres inside Sudan and originated from South Sudan’s Unity state.

In December, Sudan accused the South Sudan army of attacking the Jau region, but Juba’s military insisted its troops were defending an area on their side of the frontier.

Two weeks ago, Juba said Khartoum had bombed the same area from the air, violating a memorandum on non-aggression and cooperation signed this month.

Juba has accused Khartoum of several air raids in border districts but Sudan denied the attacks.

South Sudan broke away in July last year after an overwhelming vote for independence following more than two decades of war that killed two million people.

Border tensions have since flared, with each side accusing the other of supporting rebels within its territory, while a major dispute over oil transit fees remains unresolved.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the crisis between the neighbours has become a major threat to regional peace and security, and Britain this month expressed “grave concern at the recent build-up of forces and escalation of tensions in conflict-affected border areas.”

The ethnic minority insurgents from SPLM-N had previously fought alongside the former rebels now ruling in Juba.

Lodi, the SPLM-N spokesman, said Sunday’s joint attack followed formalisation last week of the Revolutionary Front’s structure. The Front named as its chairman Malik Agar, who is also chairman of SPLM-N. Another SPLM-N figure, Abdelaziz al-Hilu, is the Front’s military commander.

JEM and SPLM-N had fought together once before, in August, and now that the alliance structure has been formalised more joint operations will occur “when appropriate,” Lodi said.

http://www.africasia.com/services/news_africa/article.php?ID=CNG.f93648e502555ea3e976efe113d96c98.341

Sudan rebel front claims first attack in South Kordofan

KHARTOUM: Rebels in a “revolutionary front” aimed at toppling the Khartoum regime on Sunday claimed their first joint attack against government forces, but the army blamed troops from breakaway South Sudan.

Rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement(JEM), from the western region of Darfur, combined with insurgents from the SudanPeople’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which for several months has been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states along the border with breakaway South Sudan, said JEM spokesman Gibril Adam Bilal.

Last November, the two rebel groups joined with factions of Darfur’s Sudan Liberation Army to form the front dedicated to “popular uprising and armed rebellion” against the National Congress Party government in Khartoum.

“This attack is under the umbrella of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front,” Adam said.

He said Sunday’s offensive happened at Jau, a disputed area on the poorly defined north-south border.

Sudan Armed Forces spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad confirmed that the area had come under attack but he blamed the forces of South Sudan.

“This attack was completely planned and sponsored by the government of South Sudan,” he said.

“The fighting is going on now.”

Neither side could immediately give casualty figures.

South Sudan split from Sudan in July last year after an overwhelming vote for independence following more than two decades of war that killed two million people.

Border tensions have since flared, with each side accusing the other of supporting rebels within its territory, while a major dispute over oil transit fees remains unresolved.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the crisis between the neighbours has become a major threat to regional peace and security, and Britain this month expressed “grave concern at the recent build-up of forces and escalation of tensions in conflict-affected border areas.”

The ethnic minority insurgents from the SPLM-N had previously fought alongside the former rebels now ruling in the South.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Sudan-rebel-front-claims-first-attack-in-South-Kordofan/articleshow/12043952.cms

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