Archive for April 23, 2012


May this note find you well. Attached, please kindly find the copy of the letter that RSS sent to the UNSC today.

Blessed evening,
Amb. Agnes Oswaha

RSS Letter to UNSC 22 April 2012.pdf RSS Letter to UNSC 22 April 2012.pdf
2831K View Download

RSS Letter to UNSC 22 April 2012.pdf

South Sudan is a Jewish Cause

Posted: April 23, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World
Tags: ,

APRIL 23, 2012

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. Photo: Stein Ove Korneliussen.

The great Jewish historian, Salo W. Baron, famously criticized the “lachrymose” conception of Jewish history, by which he meant the reduction of the Jewish experience to a series of gory persecutions. This view of the Jewish past often colors our sense of the Jewish present, with the result that we see ourselves as having few friends, or even none at all, in a hostile world which resents the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty after centuries when Jews were at the mercy of others.

Thinking this way can be dangerous. I say this not because I make light of the threat posed to Israel by Iran, say, or because I don’t regard anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Islamic world as a major problem. I say this because we shouldn’t allow the fixations of enemies to divert us from the reality that we do have friends—and that we owe these friends our support when they fall upon dark times.

This week, the Islamist regime that has ruled Sudan since coming to power through a military coup in 1989 declared a new war against the neighboring state of South Sudan. The newest member of the United Nations, South Sudan declared its independence in July 2011, following a referendum in which almost 100 per cent of participants opted to separate from the predominantly Arab and Muslim north. For nearly 30 years, Sudan waged a brutal war against the largely Christian, African south, in which around 2 million people lost their lives.

Jewish communities around the world, and especially here in North America, need to flex their muscles in support of South Sudan. The ethical imperative is clear, as anyone following the brutal campaign waged by the Sudanese regime in the Nuba mountains in recent weeks would be aware.

But there is also a political imperative. Israel was one of the first states to recognize South Sudan. At the end of 2011, Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s combative President, visited Israel and spoke of his wish to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Israeli aid and development agencies, often assisted by Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee’s Africa Institute, have, over the years, played a major role in building up the South’s economy and infrastructure.

Hence, the bottom line is this: in a region filled to the brim with hateful enemies and fair-weather allies, South Sudan is the only state that can truly be called a friend of Israel. The origins of this friendship stretch back to the early years of the State of Israel, when David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, articulated a strategy known as the “Alliance of the Periphery,” whereby the non-Arab and non-Muslim populations in the Middle East—Kurds, Iranians, Lebanese Christians and so forth—were regarded as natural partners in countering the Arab campaign against the Jewish state.

Yet showing support for South Sudan in its hour of need is not Israel’s task alone. Jewish communities in the diaspora should also be advocating for a renewed “Alliance of the Periphery.” After all, when we hear the blood-curdling declamations of Sudan’s dictator, the indicted war criminal Omar al Bashir, against the “insects” running South Sudan, how can we not be stirred by the parallels with the Iranian regime’s anti-Israel rhetoric, or the fulminations against the “sons of pigs and monkeys” across the Islamic world, or even the dehumanizing verbal assaults by the Nazis upon the Jews?

Throughout much of the conflict over the last decade in the Darfur region of western Sudan, American Jews were a vital base of support and awareness. Synagogues and community centers across the country were draped in “Save Darfur” banners. When 100,000 people turned out for an April 2006 rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, a huge number of the participants were drawn from Jewish communities. There is no reason why this impressive solidarity should not be reignited for the people of South Sudan.

Only this time, we should be explicit that we support South Sudan because we are Jews. Their foes are also ours; for example, many of the organizations that traipse around American university campuses preaching hatred of Israel have also portrayed the Darfur campaign as a nefarious tool of Zionist influence, much to the glee of Sudan’s rulers, who quickly jumped on the bandwagon by claiming that talk of a genocide was a Zionist myth.

Sadly, Jews have a tendency to become nervous in such situations. Rather than celebrating our political influence, we seek to bury it behind inter-group and inter-faith coalitions. It is not that such coalitions are unwelcome; the problem is that many Jews apparently believe that the more universal a campaign is, the more acceptable it will be in the court of public opinion, and the less selfish we will look.

If we want to boost the pride of our friends, we need to boost the pride in ourselves. For the best coalition of all is still to be formed: one in which Jews, Kurds, Southern Sudanese, Lebanese Christians, Iranian democrats and others seeking to combat the malign influences of Islamism and Arab chauvinism gather under one roof, supporting each other as equals. As Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Ben Cohen is a senior columnist for JointMedia News Service. The New York PostFox NewsPJ Media and other prominent media outlets have also published his commentaries on international politics. Cohen is president of The Ladder Group, a communications consultancy based in New York City.

Sudan Fighter Jets Bomb South Sudan
Wall Street Journal
By NICHOLAS BARIYO KAMPALA Uganda—Sudan fighter jets on Monday bombed several positions in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state, marking a resumption of clashes days after troops from the south began withdrawing from a disputed border region to avoid 
Sudanese warplanes bomb town in South Sudan
Washington Post
JUBA, South Sudan — Sudanese warplanes bombed a South Sudanese town Monday morning, ignoring international calls to stop attacks and ratcheting up the threat of a full-blown war between the two nations. According to the United Nations mission in the 
Official: Sudan bombs 3 areas in South Sudan
Atlanta Journal Constitution
By MICHAEL ONYIEGO AP RUBKONA, South Sudan — Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oilfield in South Sudan, killing at least two people hours after Sudanese ground forces reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery, elevating the 
April 23 Photo Brief: South Sudan, England, and Afghanistan
Baltimore Sun
Gentlemen protest against Abercrombie & Fitch in London, Gyuto Monks of Tibet bless a koala, air strike in South Sudan, and more in today’s daily brief. A man gestures at a market burnt in an air strike by the Sudanese air force in Rubkona near Bentiu 

Austin American-Statesman
South Sudanese soldier has a bullet removed from his leg in the Rubkona Military Hospital Sunday, April 22, 2012 in South Sudan. Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than 6 miles inside South Sudan’s border, a South Sudanese official said 

Sudan president threatens South Sudan government
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan’s president has threatened to topple the government of South Sudan during a visit to an oil-rich border town that has sparked a recent surge in violence between the two countries. Omar al-Bashir’s comments Monday were the 
South Sudan is a Jewish Cause
This week, the Islamist regime that has ruled Sudan since coming to power through a military coup in 1989 declared a new war against the neighboring state of South Sudan. The newest member of the United Nations, South Sudan declared its independence in 
UN condemns Sudan’s bombing of South, calls for peace
Chicago Tribune
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Sudan’s bombardment of a market in the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity State on Monday and urged Khartoum to stop fighting. “The Secretary-General condemns the aerial 

In an Expression of Cultural Identity, Lost Boys of South Sudan in the U.S. to Take Wrestling Challenge to Youths in the Homeland

By PaanLuel Wel,

This is an interesting article from Akol Aguek of New Sudan Vision. Naturally as someone in the USA, I am on the side of the courageous (some might say foolish) Yuoot Mach Thon who is posed to make history in the few coming months in a planned Bor Dinka’s wrestling match in Juba, South Sudan.

If I may remember correctly, there is a provision, a rule, that states that newcomers–like Mr. Yuoot Machine–may not be legible to contest a wrestling match with time-tested, renowned wrestlers like Ajang Garang. Newcomers have to distinguish themselves first by felling lesser giants before they can stake claim on the bigger giant.

Ajang Garang therefore would rightfully feel insulted by Yuoot Machine’s match proposal because Yuoot Machine is not an equal of his to even think of challenging him. He has to distinguish himself before he can go for Ajang Garang.

Who knows, the ambitious, fresh graduate of Syracuse University may meet his equal and got humbled before he even reach Ajang Mapourdit. Nonetheless, the thought of an American going for the highest stake would still be a history by its own right.

By Hereward Holland | Reuters 

OUTSIDE BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudanese war planes bombed a market in the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity State on Monday, residents and officials said, in an attack the southern army called a declaration of war.

Sudan denied carrying out any air raids but its President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ramped up the political tension by ruling out a return to negotiations with the South, saying its government only understood “the language of the gun”.

A Reuters journalist saw aircraft dropping two bombs near a bridge linking two areas of Unity’s capital Bentiu, although it was not possible to verify the planes’ affiliation. He saw market stalls ablaze and the body of one child.

Weeks of border fighting have brought the neighbors closer to a full-blown war than at any time since South Sudan split away from Sudan as an independent country in July.

The two territories went their separate ways last year without settling a list of bitter disputes over the position of their shared border, the ownership of key territories and how much the landlocked South should pay to transport its oil through Sudan.

The disputes have already halted nearly all the oil production that underpins both struggling economies.

“Bashir is declaring war on South Sudan. It’s something obvious,” southern army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer said after the Bentiu bombing.

Aguer and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan said two people were killed in the air strike in Unity state where the Greater Nile Petroleum Company operates blocs. China’s CNPC leads this consortium, along with Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s ONGC Videsh.

“Early reports indicate the bombings started at 8.30 hours and that Rubkona market has been struck,” the U.N. mission said in a statement, without spelling out who carried out the attack.

“These indiscriminate bombings resulting in the loss of civilian lives must stop,” said Hilde F. Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.

The mission said its officers had seen one bomb land on the market and three near a bridge. “A young boy burned to death as the hut he was in caught fire from the blast in Rubkona market area,” it quoted one of its officers as saying.

Bentiu is about 80 km (50 miles) from the contested and poorly marked border with Sudan.

Sudan denied carrying out any air attacks in the area. “We have no relation to what happened in Unity state, and we absolutely did not bomb anywhere in South Sudan,” the country’s military spokesman, Al-Sawarmi Khalid, said.


In the worst fighting since the split, South Sudan earlier this month seized the disputed oil-producing territory of Heglig – then announced it had started withdrawing on Friday, following sharp criticism from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Bashir, dressed in military uniform, visited the Heglig region on Monday, descending from his plane to shouts of “Allahu akbar” – “God is greatest” – from soldiers and officials gathered on the tarmac.

Speaking to Sudanese army troops, he vowed not to negotiate with South Sudan after it had occupied the region.

“We will not negotiate with the South’s government, because they don’t understand anything but the language of the gun and ammunition,” he said at a barracks near the oilfield along the contested border.

A Reuters journalist on an official tour of the region filmed bombed-out pipelines dripping oil in the largely damaged Heglig oilfield, as well as heavy damage to the central processing facility, power station and other infrastructure.

Abdelazeem Hassan Abdallah, an oil worker in Heglig, accused South Sudan’s forces of attacking the oilfield.

“They know how to do the job completely. They destroyed our main power plant, and they destroyed our processing facilities,” he told Reuters.


General Kamal Abdul Maarouf, a Sudanese army commander who led the battles in Heglig, said his troops had killed 1,200 South Sudanese soldiers in fighting in the area, an account South Sudan denied.

Journalists travelling on an official trip to the region said they saw bodies strewn on the road to the barracks. Some clearly had South Sudanese flags on their uniforms, but it was not always possible to verify their nationalities.

Aguer dismissed Maarouf’s report. “The number of casualties the SPLA has suffered since the 26th or March doesn’t exceed 50,” he said.

South Sudan won its independence in a referendum that was promised in a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war between Khartoum and the south.

South Sudan’s armed forces have 10 helicopters but no fixed-wing aircraft, except for one Beech 1900 light transport aircraft, according to an International Institute for Strategic Studies report.

Sudan has 61 combat capable aircraft, including 23 fighter aircraft.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, founded by Sudan activists, said recent satellite imagery showed Khartoum had “dramatically increased the number of military strike aircraft at two airbases and that many are in range to fly deep into South Sudan.”

The monitoring group said satellite imagery was consistent with reports that Sudanese forces bombed “an apparent civilian area” near a bridge in Bentiu. It also said it appeared the SPLA had looted a Sudanese military base in Heglig, which could be a violation of international law.

(Additional reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Alexander Dziadosz in Khartoum, El-Tayeb Siddig in Heglig, Yara Bayoumy in Juba; Writing by Ulf Laessing, Alexander Dziadosz and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Sudan president threatens South Sudan government

By MOHAMED SAEED | Associated Press –

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan’s president has threatened to topple the government of South Sudan during a visit to an oil-rich border town that has sparked a recent surge in violence between the two countries.

Omar al-Bashir’s comments Monday were the latest in a war of words against Sudan’s southern neighbors.

The two countries disagree over where the border between them lies and ownership of oil resources in the region.

This latest outbreak of violence threatens to escalate into a full-scale war.

Al-Bashir vowed during his visit to Heglig to press ahead with his military campaign until, according to him, all southern troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.

His forces bombed a major town inside South Sudan Monday.

RUBKONA, South Sudan (AP) — Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oil field in South Sudan, killing at least two people hours after Sudanese ground forces reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery, elevating the risk of all-out war between the two old enemies.

The international community urged Sudan and South Sudan to talk out their disputes, which include arguments over where the border lies and over ownership of oil resources.

The bombs fell from two MiG 29 jets onto Rubkona’s market with a whistling sound, turning stalls where food and other household items are sold into fiery heaps of twisted metal. The burned body of the boy lay flat on his back near the center of the blast site, his hand clutching at the sky.

South Sudan military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said two were killed in that attack and nine wounded.

Aguer said Antonov bombers accompanied by MiG 29 jets also bombed Abiemnom in Unity State and the Unity State oil field. He said Abiemnom is a two-hour drive from Rubkona. Amid poor communications, the extent of damage at the oil field was not immediately known, nor whether there were casualties. Fighting between ground troops, which started Sunday, was still ongoing in Panakuac, Laloba and Teshwin, Aguer said.

In Rubkona, trucks packed with South Sudanese troops sped off in the direction where the bombs landed as the soldiers fired at the Sudanese jets.

“The bombing amounts to a declaration of war,” said Maj. Gen. Mac Paul, the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence for South Sudan.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday the U.S. strongly condemns Sudan’s military incursion into South Sudan, and called for the immediate halt of aerial and artillery bombardment in South Sudan.

“We recognize the right of South Sudan to self-defense and urge South Sudan to exercise restraint in its reaction to Sudan’s attack in Unity State,” she said.

Sudanese armed forces launched an attack Sunday more than six miles (nine kilometers) inside South Sudan’s border, even though the south announced on Friday it was pulling its troops from the disputed oil town of Heglig to avoid an all-out war. South Sudan had invaded Heglig earlier this month, saying it belonged to the south.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir visited Heglig on Monday to inspect the damage, according to the official Sudanese news agency. Sudan claims its forces liberated the town from South Sudan. Al-Bashir has vowed to teach his southern neighbors a lesson.

Paul said two MiG 29 jets belonging to Sudan dropped three bombs on Monday, two of which landed near a bridge that connects Bentiu, the capital of Unity State and Rubkona, another town.

It was not the first time Sudan has targeted the bridge between Bentiu and Rubkona. Two Sukhoi fighters dropped bombs within 100 meters (yards) of the same bridge earlier this month.

Sudan and South Sudan, the world’s newest country, have been drawing closer to war in recent months over the sharing of oil revenues and a disputed border.

On Saturday night, a Muslim mob burned a Catholic church in Sudan frequented mostly by South Sudanese. The church in Khartoum’s Al-Jiraif district was built on a disputed plot of land, but the attack appeared to be part of the fallout from ongoing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan.

Paul said late Sunday that South Sudan is building up its forces because they think Sudan is also doing the same.

The international community, led by the U.S., has called for the two countries to stop all military actions against each other and restart negotiations to solve their disputes.

President Barack Obama on Friday asked the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan to resume negotiations and said that conflict is not inevitable.

African Union-mediated talks between the two countries recently broke down in Ethiopia. The African Union on Sunday called on Sudan and South Sudan to end “senseless fighting.”

The European Union in a statement on Monday also urged Sudan and South Sudan to end their armed confrontation and negotiate. The EU welcomed South Sudan’s decision to withdraw its troops from neighboring Sudan’s oil-rich town of Heglig and warned the government not to mount any more attacks.

It also called on Sudan to refrain from attacking the withdrawing forces and cease aerial bombardment of South Sudan.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July last year after an independence vote, the culmination of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war that killed more than 2 million people.

Associated Press writer Mohamed Saeed in Khartoum, Sudan contributed to this report.

Sudan and South Sudan: Conflict continues

In the shade of a mango tree, the south’s VP proclaims ‘There is no ceasefire.’

BENTIU, South Sudan — Sudan bombed a civilian market here today killing three people, highlighting the continued tensions.

Sudan claims that it is retaliating for South Sudan’s shelling of the town of Talodi in Sudan on Sunday, which caused many casualties.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday that he is not interested in negotiating with South Sudan. He said the only way to deal with South Sudan is to fight,according to the BBC.

It is clear that South Sudan’s withdrawal from Sudan’s Heglig oilfield over the weekend has not ended the hostilities between the two neighboring countries, said South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar.

“Our history is a history of fighting each other. The Republic of South Sudan was created out of self-defence,” said Machar, on relations with its northern neighbor Sudan. “We fight, and we talk.”

Machar sat beneath a large mango tree on the bank of the Naam River where he held court perched on a pair of flimsy baby blue plastic chairs stacked on top of each other for extra strength: He’s a big man.

He’s also a Big Man: He wears a heavy gold Rolex watch and a candy-striped shirt with chunky black and gold cufflinks. The fingers interlinked over his large belly sport gold rings. I recognize the distinctive gap between his front teeth before I recognize the rest of his face.

On the matching plastic table in front of him are three touchscreen smartphones, a couple of maps and a sketch of the area around Heglig oil field where a brief, bloody border war was fought this month. On Friday, South Sudan ordered its troops to withdraw, but few here think the war is over.

“The conflict is there, it hasn’t gone away,” says Machar. He was flanked by his wife Angelina Teny, a serious political player in her own right; the Minister of Defence John Koang Nyuon; and the Governor of Unity State, Taban Deng Gai.

“There is no ceasefire. We can return to Heglig at any time if [President Omar al-] Bashir attacks our forces.” He seemed convinced Bashir would continue to order attacks on the south. Governor Gai complained that Sudan is continuing its aerial bombardment of South Sudanese territory.

A few miles north of Bentiu were four craters left by an Antonov bombing late on Friday night that killed at least one soldier and wounded three more in the Unity oil field.

Machar insisted that it was diplomatic not military pressure that resulted in South Sudan’s capitulation.

“We withdrew from Heglig because of the UN Security Council, the African Union and US positions and the threat of sanctions,” he said. “We cannot afford sanctions against us. We cannot afford to be a pariah when we are not even a year old.”

The world welcomed South Sudan when it won independence on July 9 last year, but a series of tricky issues were left unresolved, including revenue and debt sharing, border demarcation and citizenship. These are the points over which both Sudans are arguing now.

Unlike Sudan under Bashir, for whom international opprobrium has become common currency, South Sudan does not want the blows to its economy and reputation that will come with international sanctions.

In January, as negotiations between Juba and Khartoum reached what — at the time — seemed their nadir, South Sudan cut off oil production, strangling both economies. Its seizure of Heglig on April 9 made matters even more serious as that oilfield alone provided more than half of Khartoum’s remaining oil revenues. That is why Bashir could not afford for its occupation by the South to go unchallenged.

Machar wasn’t worried that the oil shutdown would make fighting a war with the north economically impossible.

“We can sustain running our country without the extravaganza of oil revenues for quite some time,” he said. “We fought for over 40 years with very little resources and we managed to create a state.”

According to Machar the last southern troops pulled out of Heglig at nine on Friday night and moved back to Teshwin, a border settlement which, like so many others along the disputed boundary, doubles as a garrison. By then the Heglig oil field was in flames and buildings and possessions looted.

Sudan President Bashir visits contested oil town of Heglig

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in the contested southern oil field town of Heglig, promising there will be no more talks with South Sudan as tensions between the East African neighbors point to an increasing risk of all-out war.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in the contested southern oil field town of Heglig, promising there will be no more talks with South Sudan over border demarcation and disputed oil revenues.

South Sudan’s army announced on Friday that it was pulling its troops out of Heglig to avoid all-out war with its East African neighbor, having occupied the field since April 9.

Sudan said its forces had driven the South out of the area.

“No negotiation with those people,” Bashir said of the South Sudanese regime upon his arrival in Heglig, according to the Agence France Presse, adding: “Our talks with them were guns and bullets.”

On Monday witnesses accused Sudan of carrying out airstrikes near the South Sudanese border town of Bentiu, killing three people, Reuters reports.

The alleged attack comes a day after South Sudan claimed the North had bombed and launched ground strikes against three sets of targets inside its border, killing four soldiers.

Khartoum has denied carrying out aerial attacks on its southern neighbor, but there are mounting concerns that all-out war between Sudan and South Sudan – which secured its independence from the North last July – is imminent.

After South Sudanese forces occupied Heglig earlier this month, claiming it was being used as launch pad for Sudanese attacks inside its territories, Bashir vowed to “liberate” the people of South Sudan from their “insect” rulers, saying:

“Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement), and this is our responsibility before our brothers in South Sudan.”

The president accused South Sudan’s government of trying to destroy its northern neighbour, the Agence France Presse reports, adding: “Our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”

On Saturday night a Muslim mob several hundred strongset fire to a Catholic church frequented by South Sudanese in the Al-Jiraif district of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, screaming insults at the mainly Christian and animist southerners as they did so.

In a statement released Sunday, the African Union called on both countries to end “senseless fighting.”

“The commission urges the two parties to immediately and unconditionally resume negotiations … to reach agreements on all outstanding issues,” AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said, the Associated Press reports.

Sudan and South Sudan fighting ends, for now

South Sudan withdraws troops from Heglig after bombardment by Sudan. Will peace last?

BENTIU, South Sudan — A brief but bloody border war in the disputed oil fields of central Sudan appeared to be over on Friday, as South Sudan announced that its troops would withdraw from the Heglig oilfields it occupied two weeks ago.

The fighting over Heglig signaled a dramatic deterioration in relations between South Sudan and its northern neighbor, which have been at loggerheads since southern independence in July last year. War loomed between Sudan and South Sudan over the territory.

The dispute hinges on the sharing of oil revenues, border demarcation, citizenship and questions over how to divide the national debt. The governments in the rival capitals of Juba and Khartoum have accused one another for months of backing proxy forces, but in Heglig the two armies went head-to-head for the first time since a 2005 peace deal ended 22 years of civil war.

When South Sudan’s army seized Heglig on April 9, the town was strewn with the rotting bodies of northern soldiers. South Sudan’s aggression triggered days of aerial bombardments by Khartoum, underscoring the depth of hostility between the two old enemies.

The fighting was matched by belligerent rhetoric, which appeared to ratchet up the likelihood of war. “They started the fighting and we will announce when it will end, and our advance will never stop,” President Omar al-Bashir told a rally.

But Friday, the South Sudan government made an abrupt reversal and announced it would pull back its troops from Heglig.

“The Republic of South Sudan announces that the SPLA [southern army] troops have been ordered to withdraw from Panthou-Heglig,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the country’s information minister, using the southern name for the area.

The withdrawal would begin immediately and should be completed within three days, he said at a press conference in the capital Juba.

For its part, Sudan’s defence minister said the northern army had “liberated” Heglig, and Khartoum celebrated its military victory.

Despite the South’s attempt at face-saving in Bentiu, the closest southern town to the fighting, it looked like a defeat for the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

On Friday morning reinforcements continued to arrive, with at least five truckloads of southern soldiers seen in the town 55 miles south of Heglig.

Just the day before, commanders had insisted to GlobalPost that they would hold Heglig and even continue moving north towards the town of Kharasana, which also houses a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) base.

But two days of aerial bombardments and ground attacks appeared to have taken a heavy toll on the South’s forces. At the military hospital inside the 4th Infantry Division barracks, there were 150 casualties and only 72 beds.

In any case, most of the soldiers — suffering flesh wounds, fractures and burns as a result of the bombings — sat outside beneath trees rather than in the sweltering wards.

Medical director Captain Zacharia Deng said the hospital’s four doctors and two anaesthetists were struggling to cope with the influx.

“We do not have enough space,” he said. More wounded were expected to arrive on Friday evening.

Among the injured was Private Anthony Agok, with a bandaged hand, who said he was hit in his foxhole by a blast from a bomb dropped from a Sudanese Antonov aircraft on Thursday. Other soldiers sported bandaged limbs and heads. A few were smeared in white cream to ease the pain of extensive burns to their arms and faces.

Private Agok said he was keen to continue fighting. “As long as I live, the North will not occupy our territory,” he said, repeating the southern claim that Heglig lies on the south side of the disputed border.

But others were less gung-ho.

Private John Okeny, whose elbow was struck by shrapnel during a bombardment, also on Thursday, said he had had enough. “They bombed us continuously from noon till six,” he said.

The retreat from Heglig illustrated with deadly effect the superior military power that Sudan enjoys over its southern neighbor: SPLA troops could not withstand the sustained air attacks launched by Khartoum.

But with South Sudan insisting that it was not giving up its claim to Heglig, the halt in fighting may only be temporary.

In January, South Sudan shut off oil production, a move that is strangling the economies of both North and South, both of whose economies are heavily reliant on oil revenues.

South Sudan’s assault on Heglig — which was described as “illegal” by the UN and the African Union — was an attack on Sudan’s ailing economy, as most of its oil revenues come from that one field.

But the attempt to deal a mortal blow to Khartoum’s economy has come at a high price for South Sudan. Juba was widely condemned for its aggression, and has been forced to withdraw under military pressure, leaving it in a weaker position diplomatically and militarily.

Politically Poor Bor Politicians

Posted: April 23, 2012 by Tears Ayuen in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Tearz Ayuen
Tags: , ,

English people proverbially say “one thing leads to another”, an idiom that means an event or activity results in another that you have usually not planned. Well, a story which was ran by Sudan Tribune website featuring a photo of a Bor child wearing an innocent face, intentionally stained with ash to keep off flies, published on March 26 under the name of “Jonglei citizens critical of lack of basic services” caused me to write out this article, not because it is the first story that reveals the political barrenness and questionability of the way the affairs of Bor people are being executed by those they elected to power, but because the photo, just the photo, touched the humanitarian me.

Yes I always speak my mind through writing but never before had I ever thought of publicizing what I feel about Bor and its leaders until I saw that face that seems to ask a million dollar question. The child’s face poses unspoken question, “do you really represent me, Honorable?” The question goes out to you, Bor Commissioner, Honorable Maker Lual, and all the members of parliament from Bor; Honorable Thon Nyok, Honorable June Maler, Honorable Makuei Lueth, Honorable Benjamin Malek Alier and Honorable Dengtiel Ayuen Kur. I’m going to leave Governor Kuol alone because he represents all of the six counties of Jonglei. All the incompetence and inefficiencies and failures witnessed by his commissioners and many other government officials knock at his door though. My targets are those directly managing Bor issues.

Before I register my protest fully, I would love you to know that there’s nothing personal about this opinion. I respect you as my parliamentarian and Bor political leader in general. You are a great man with amazing historical background. You have great children, some with whom I studied with in high school. Besides, I currently have no one on my mind; someone that can do better than you do.

I have been to Bor a couple of times and I managed to study it just by looking at the people and things. However, the following issues manifested through each age set are based on my observations and daily happenings. They point toward the road Bor as a society is headed…….a road leading to nowhere, I guess.

A Bor old man no longer stays in his Luak because a Luak that doesn’t house a few heads of cattle is useless; it’s like a body without soul. It’s worth vacating. His animals have been driven away by unidentified gunmen that he believes came from Pibor. He fears keeping the remaining three cows in his Luak for fear of being re-attacked and slaughtered by the unknown gunmen. So, where is he? He moved to his half-literate brother’s place in Bor town. The brother is a businessman. Life is still hard here. The old man eats once a day. A meal that does not comprise milk and meat weakens his bones. It fast-forwards his life span. He looks physically weak, with wasted muscles. He wears tattered clothes. He walks barefoot, with support of a staff. He can’t wear the boots his nephew abroad bought him in 2007 because they are not his size. Actually, they are his size but they just can’t fit him. Thanks to his toes. For some physiological conditions, the toes have grown apart, with the second toe pointing the sky and the fifth, freely relaxing at an angle of 180 degrees. He tries to keep himself happy and cheerful by drinking the infamous locally distilled alcohol known as “arege.” This helps him drink away all the worries of the new life, as he awaits the day he will exit to the new world.

The same with a grandmother; gone are days she used to grow groundnuts, sesame and tobacco at the backyard. Her old empty granaries are leaning. There’s nothing to store in it anyway. She can’t remember the last time she brewed beer for village men who helped cultivate her sorghum and maize plantations. Her only cows, the source of livelihood got attacked by Yellow Coast Fever and died. She doesn’t know what happened to her goats and sheep but something tells her that her goats got stolen by rogue villagers who capitalized on her conditions. They must have been butchered and sold to Bor city residents. As a result, she now stays in a small hut at her daughter’s home in Bor town.

An educated Bor gentleman lives and works in Bor. He is a teacher, married with three children. In addition to his immediate family members, his relatives; aunt, uncle, nieces, nephews and grandparents depend on him. Worst of all, the salary is such a joke, about a hundred dollars. It comes irregularly. It takes months, about three or so. One of the agendas he presents to God in his daily prayer is the salary, “God please let them pay us today”. When it finally comes, he does the Maths, long division to be specific. No savings; the salary goes from hand to mouth. He can’t think of furthering his studies because he is too pre-occupied with the lives of his dependents. Sadly, the dude is starving. His behind is so flat. You can’t locate where the buttocks used to be when he was a teenager!

A Bor boy of primary school-going age spends his day at the bus park in the city. He is a boda-boda. The motor cycle business he runs belongs to someone else, just a friend. He transports commuters within bor. In a successful business day, he makes about a hundred pounds. Out of that amount, the owner hands him twenty pounds which he takes home to his helpless ill mother. His younger brother is in the streets too, hustling. He sells newspapers that earn him a few pounds. Their friends are spoiled kids. They spend their day’s earnings on alcohol. I’m afraid, as time goes by and without any intervention, these little brothers will join their friends.

A Bor boy overseas, the one you believe undoubtedly emigrated with the sole aim of acquiring better education in foreign land has turned out to be something else. He is locally referred to as “niga”. He is chasing untold goals. One of the goals is called “swag”. I don’t know what it means but that’s what he daydreams about. He wears skinny jeans as if he is going to sing Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean track. He is in love with girls and clothes, expensive wears. He dresses to impress. He drinks too. If you, by whatever means, open up his head, you would find three words embedded in his brain, only three words. They are; girls, swag and alcohol. Nothing more! And his cousin seems to be on campus forever. He joined university six years ago but he still shows no sign of graduating. I can’t tell what exactly is going on.

A Bor girl abroad is the worst. She is in love with her body. She changes her tops more than she changes her underwear. Guess why? Just to spend hours in the toilet, taking pictures of herself! That’s what she does both at home and school, all day all night. The photos are usually pornographic, as her big balloon-like ass sticks out. Some images show her teats. At times, she cheats herself by pretending to be a super model. You should watch her walk. She goes to school to show off her beauty, just beauty. I hacked into her school account the other day. She performs poorly at school. In fact, she doesn’t go to school. She also drinks that poisonous European whiskey called Johnny Walker. What a missy!

And to be fair and true to myself and Bor society, I Tears Ayuen, the author of this piece, have to say one or two things about me. I am an alcoholic. You can just call me bar fly. I drink like a fish, every day. I am typing this sentence with difficulty. Alcohol has taken control over my fingers. They tremble. Never count on me!

The above descriptions paint a picture of what contemporary Bor society looks like. They also indicate what Bor will be like in few years to come should you, an MP, refuse to be guided by the oath you took during your swearing-in ceremony.

So, seven years after a strong government system was established, and a Bor baby is still smeared with cow dung to protect it from being bullyingly celebrated by houseflies, tsetse flies? OMG!

As you lie in your bed sometimes alone, do you cerebrate?

Does the word Bor ever cross your mind?

Considering life challenges each and every Bor is currently facing, in whose eyes do you see the future of Bor as a people? Ain’t it that baby’s? So, what’s up? What must you do to protect it? Do you need to google how to better his life?

For how long will Bor people drink water straight from frog ponds? Even when the other South Sudanese middle-aged men are proudly developing pot-bellies as a result of Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Bor men still have flat stomachs. In case you spot a Bor male adult with a big belly in Bor town, he must be suffering from bilharzia or tapeworm. The dude still drinks dirty water!!!

And by the way, why is Bor society being uprooted under your watch? Bor people are ever insecure. They are hunted by their neighbors for their livestock and you just watch, hoping that everything will be okay. Now that Bor is under attack; it’s being indirectly uprooted – the elderly folks are abandoning their villages due to preventable and avoidable insecurities, no one farms anymore and all the Luaks and huts have collapsed and no new huts are seen,  isn’t it the beginning of the complete uprooting of the whole Bor civilization? No one sings or dances any more. Celebratory drum beats are rarely heard today because there is nothing to celebrate about. Cows are gone. A Bor dies in cold blood every day; either while traveling on Bor-Juba road or at his Luak. If women are not ululating with sorrow in Kolnyang or Anyidi today, others are ululating in Baidit or Makuach. Now that the culture is gone, do you now have the privileges to reprimand me for wearing my pants below the waist? What culture would you cite?

Why is it that only mere individuals like Mathiang Kuc and Kok Alat plus many more others I haven’t heard of, have Bor at heart? I guess you know what I am talking about. These dudes dig deep into their pockets and spend their hard-earned cash on things that they believe will elevate Bor community. Why only them?

I am not suggesting that you are not doing anything at all but the current Bor situation tells it all. The general situation is so pathetic. It nullifies any little effort that you make or might have made.

I will leave it there. My fingers are uncontrollably shaking now. They are indirectly telling me to take another dose of alcohol. And remember, he who rebukes you loves you. I am off to drink.

John Garang Died In Vain

Posted: April 23, 2012 by Tears Ayuen in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Tearz Ayuen

I seldom think about the late John Garang de Mabior, but whenever I do, words like dishonor, contempt, disrespect, degradation, belittlement, disloyalty, betrayal and even treason cross my mind. They come in great numbers and at once, such that they cause a heavy word-traffic jam in my head, as my grammatical brain tries to choose one word that can clearly describe how individuals have defecated and continue to defecate on the freedom fighter’s achievements and dreams. Needless to mention de Mabior’s end result of his rebellion, struggle and leadership, no single person amongst his stewards seems to be interested in fulfilling his dream. Don’t worry. I will explain. Just stay with me.

First of all, no one is perfect and never ever shall anyone be. De Mabior was both a Satan and Angel. The seven-headed serpentine satanic de Mabior castrated and slaughtered many many many prominent people in our societies. On my side, one was my uncle and the other, a neighbor from my neighboring village, Palee. These personalities arrived at their cruel deaths, perhaps because they disagreed with de Mabior on some issues pertaining to liberation of the common man. It is history anyway. On the other hand, you yourself know, hear, see, feel and taste the work of the angelic De Mabior. I don’t have enough time to spend, counting his good deeds. His work is just priceless.

In my book, de Mabior died in vain. Look, having his image printed on the country’s currency alone does not say that you really feel and remember him. Hanging his portrait in every office does not show that he is honored. Bowing or kneeling in front of his mausoleum doesn’t indicate that you respect him. Giving Nyandeng and the sons a trillion dollars would not make him pleased.  Shedding tears or even crying a river before his grave would not make him receive homage from you. Mentioning his name during national functions does not help. Naming South Sudan after him would not make him smile down there either. Relax; I am getting to the point.

I repeat, Garang Mabior died in vain. If you think I am wrong, you take a trip to his birthplace, Panyagor. Check it out and tell me what it looks like.  Panyagor remains the same. Nothing has changed since de Mabior left it for studies in Tonj in the late1950s, or is it early 1960s? I saw Panyagor months ago when a WFP plane picked me up from Bor and dropped off some passengers in Panyagor first before flying straight to Juba. Even though my unplanned visit lasted five minutes, I captured a lot with my mental digital camera. There were three concrete buildings with iron sheet-roofing. The rest were traditional grass-thatched mud houses. Old useless electric poles exhaustedly stood along an open passage that looked like a road. I can’t conclude that what I saw was a road because nothing showed that a car passed. No tracks though the ground was damp. If it is a dirt road, it must be the least used road on earth. All I saw was a herd of cattle and goats taking rest on it, lying and chewing cud uninterrupted.  If they were niggers, I would say they were chilling out. Another thing that caught my eye was the presence of few people in the area. I think great depopulation took place here. All I saw were really very few people, mostly the elderly.

My argument is, if the political, economic, social, educational, and religious situations in the then region of southern Sudan forced de Mabior and the rest to take up arms against Khartoum regime, why then can’t he be honored by at least changing the lives of Tuei? Tuei are amongst south Sudanese who suffered the most during the struggle. They were victimized by de Mabior’s enemies within, who politically blindedly decided to demoralize, hurt him by going for a killing spree in Bor North, no, Twic East. Forgive me. That was a slip of the tongue. If de Mabior was alive today, that would be a different story. We would all be tight-lipped and watch as we now are, wondering when or whether our president will embark on developing his village. So, why are Tuei being raped socially, economically? Why disrespect the hero? Why belittle his legacy? Why do we pretend to worship him? Yes he fought for all of us but the fact that he died, leaving many things unaccomplished should place Panyagor on top of the list of places to develop in South Sudan.

On his way to the grave, de Mabior told his juniors to take towns to the people; a great message that, I think, got soaked in a bottle of whisky, drank up and flushed down the toilet that evening. It ran down the sewer straight to the Nile River which in turn carried it to the Mediterranean Sea.  I call it the misplaced message. Leaders now try to remember where they kept it. Others have a really very bad memory; they are doing the exact opposite of the message by taking villagers to the towns as they fail to protect them from a number of things, including rustling, revenge attacks and tribal wars that consequently make them not grow their own crops. Acute poverty, indicated by starvation and diseases set in, sending them packing, to towns.  Tuei are not any exception here. About ninety percent of them live outside their county.

Politicians should have made de Mabior’s dream come true by starting off rural developmental projects in Panyagor. This would be a token of appreciation for the great role he played. Tuei themselves would understand why their son joined the struggle.

I know construction of South Sudan is in place but with the current speed of development, with the way rural affairs are being handled by Members of Parliament, I think modern living standards will reach Panyagor around the year 2100, about 88 years away from now.

Irrespective of all the things politicians try to please de Mabior with, wherever he is; hell or heaven, he is not a happy living dead. He feels betrayed, dishonored, belittled. He never smiles. He frowns at the leaders seven days a week.

In conclusion, if de Mabior did not die in vain, if politicians have not forgotten him, if our leaders do not really sing the “everyone for himself and God for us all” song, if politicians really want him to Rest In Peace, then the only way they can prove and show the whole world that they still hold him close to their chest is by prioritizing development in Panyagor. In fact, I suggest the National Assembly should draft and pass a bill into law, let’s call it Panyagor Bill. The bill should be a real thing that defines a number of developmental projects, namely; paved roads and streets and avenues, power plant, water project, five state-of-art hospitals, ten 20-storey glass buildings, schools, agricultural machineries and recreational facilities. Immortalize him by renovating the hut he was born in, in Buk village, Nyuak payam. Researchers, historians and tourists would travel from all corners of the universe to come and see the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest men.

Contrarily on the education agenda, leave Tuei alone. They are ahead of the game. You shouldn’t be surprised if anyone told you that Twic East is the only county in South Sudan with the lowest illiteracy rate.


Dear Uncle

Posted: April 23, 2012 by Tears Ayuen in Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Tearz Ayuen
Tags: ,

Dear Uncle,

You just offered me your old V-8 and credited my bank account with a huge amount of dollars but I don’t think that will stop me from speaking my mind. There’s something that I have been keeping to myself, something that I have always wanted to tell you, something that disturbs me, something my peers abhor you for. I defend you though. It is high time now I tell you in this short note. It’s going to be disheartening, however, close your eyes and take a deep breath before you proceed to the next paragraph.

Here we go…… it’s both ironical and incomprehensible how our grandfathers, fathers, aunts, friends, mothers, sisters and even yourself bled, sweated and shed tears, sacrificially, for more than a century in a quest to detach south Sudanese from the claws of Islamic rule yet you still dumbly ignorantly selfishly plug us in the socket of Arab world by indecisively rushing to their states in order to attract investments, given the hidden agenda that comes with their development proposals.

An Arab is an Arab; be he a sheikh, politician, hawker or shopkeeper. His mission is one and simple; to Arabize and Islamize anyone, anywhere. I don’t think you need a PhD in History to trace back how they came and the price of their presence in Sudan, of which we have paid dearly. Even your seven-year son can recite it before an international audience. An Arab always strives to change you, in and out; from names, color of skin, lifestyle, name it. You ask the people of Nuba Mountains.

Let me take you back a little bit by elaborating how ungrateful ingrates this folks are. Back in the day, the Arabs came to Sudan as single male merchants. I repeat; single male merchants. They arrived and settled in Khartoum, an area allegedly inhabited by Dinka people. That was before the cleverer race invented the calendar. As they carried on with their businesses, and after they showered the unsuspecting Dinka chiefs and elders with gifts of mirrors, sweets, salt and soaps, they requested the old dudes for a number of things. First of all, they asked for pieces of land for erecting shops. And then they asked for girls for marriage, a request I suspect the sly Dinka people gladly assented to since they felt it was the best way to rid of their ugly, promiscuous and lazy daughters. Remember, today’s Dinka folks practice that business. They marry off our unmarriageable sisters to foreigners. Doesn’t that remind you of what happened the other day?

Anyway, the girl-sweet-salt-business continued as long as the first guys found it lucrative. They invited over their brothers, uncles and friends back home to join them. They eventually multiplied and started showing their true colors – master-like behaviors. They began to control everything, both that moved and that didn’t. They did a lot with the natives. They sold some into slavery and made some laborers. But with the inability of cattle-rearing communities to succumb to change easily, the Dinka waged countless wars against their nieces but lost, forcing them to migrate to different parts of Sudan. See? Northerners are our biological nieces because their existence is as a result of the aforementioned unions. I understand the Dinka were so arrogant, some still are, such that a slave would turn away leftovers, claiming that he should have partaken in the meals at the table with his master’s family.  Since then, the feud rages on.

Now, wasn’t it yesterday that the Nile River overflowed with blood and bodies of innocent women and children that were ceremoniously slaughtered by Arabs just because they refused to be Arabic? Or has it been too long to remember the root cause of the 21-year civil war that claimed 2.5 million lives and displaced 4 million more, including your children?

Then, what on earth makes you travel to their cities to lobby investments from their companies? Who has bewitched you, uncle? Does south Sudan have to attract investments from the Middle East? What world records have they set or broken in terms of development apart from high unemployment rates, Low wages and widespread poverty?

Or do you have shares in the Arab companies you bring in the baby country? In fact, rumors say so. I will stop here because I feel the few remarks will brainstorm you.

One more thing, I want you to talk to your daughter; the one who calls herself Lady Gaga. She drinks a lot lately. She has made a lot of broke friends who she drinks with day in day out. I doubt she attends her classes regularly. Haven’t you been wondering why she keeps asking you for more money? Apparently, she is an ATM machine. There’s this broke boyfriend of hers who has assumed the nature of a tick. The guy clings to her so badly. She pays his rent, buys him pants. I tried to talk her out of her brand new lifestyle but she instead hailed insults at me, calling me names. Furthermore, she doesn’t wear enough clothes nowadays. The first thing you see when she appears is her breasts. They hang naked; with only the nipples covered. When asked why, she says our grandmas used to wear nothing at all. “So, why disturb someone who has at least dressed?” She asks. The next thing to worry about her dress code is her skirts. They are too short. You can see her underwear even when she is standing! And she calls anyone who dares rebuke her, uncivilized.

You must be wondering why I haven’t deposited all the money into your foreign bank account. It’s because the bank manager, on seeing stacks of dollars, and especially after I failed to account for the source, threatened to call cops on me. I lied to him that it was for a registered company based in Juba. He instructed me to get proper papers in order to bank the notes, and that was after I bribed him heavily.  I have resorted to banking the money in bits pieces just to avoid possible interrogations by Interpol. I will have banked it all by June this year.  If I may ask, where did you get this large sum from, uncle?

I almost forgot. I’m obliged to educate you about your concubine. Forgive my English. I would have used a better or at least mannerly reference had the English people created a polite word for concubine. She is playing you. I mean, she fakes her love for you believe it or not. Worst of all, the baby is not yours. The father of the baby is an old boyfriend who she broke up with after she conceived. I learned that the dude disowned her because he didn’t have what it takes to feed extra mouths; but he resurfaced when he realized she is alive and kicking. Thanks to your unsuspectingness. Or is it negligence? You may find it hard to believe this: I, for no specific reason, tampered with her phone while she was in the kitchen. I entered into the “sent items” folder where I found an SMS that she sent. It reads “dear sweetheart, there’s no reason you should doubt my forgiveness. I told you last time that I do understand why you refused to take responsibility for my pregnancy. You were a student and had no money. Besides, the baby is yours….. I love you and want you so bad. The old fool left for Juba this morning, come home tonight and correct what the old man doesn’t do right…………….”

At law, an accomplice is a person who actively participates in the commission of a crime, even though he or she takes no part in the actual criminal offense. This then automatically handcuffs oil companies that got involved in South Sudan’s oil since the American Chevron discovered it around 1979. Though a number of European countries were involved, I am, in this article, going to deal with China and Malaysia whose companies confederated with successive Khartoum governments and deliberately inflicted untold sufferings on the owners of the oil in their quest to quench economic thirsts.

After the Americans announced the discovery of oil in an area that geographically lies inside the region of Southern Sudan, the then president, Nimeiri created “Unity” State around Bentiu town. As the name suggests, his intention was to declare oil fields as assets of both the South and the North. In real sense, he changed the oil areas in the south into northern properties by changing the boundaries within the country. Heglig is not any exception. See? That was an organized stealing. The SPLA saw it, forcing them to act quickly. They attacked the oil installations and “captured” three Americans on the island base at Rub Kona, who they later killed. I quoted the word “captured” in an attempt to erase the politicized idea that got drummed into the ears of the international community by the media; an idea that criminalizes the SPLA as it paints a picture the three American oil workers were kidnapped. Kidnapped my foot! They were accomplices caught in the act. If the SPLA kidnapped them, why didn’t they demand for ransom? Logically, they were killed for colluding with Nimeiri to suck our oil dry. Weren’t the SPLA’s actions justified? Chevron consequently pulled out of the deal forever, a move that indicates they accept and believe they were mistaken. They later apologized by injecting aid efforts in South Sudan including, the Lost Boys/Girls Project and the CPA which they actively brokered.

Withdrawal of Chevron paved way for the world’s oil-hungriest nation called China. With its mouth wide open and salivating, China National Petroleum Company seized the opportunity. It ganged up with Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian oil companies under the name of Lundin Consortium. SPLA/M was visionary, selfless and clever by then. They made it almost impossible for oil production to take place. Many individual soldiers found it worth dying for, thus, they got killed in crossfire around the oil wells.

As a result of the agreements entered by Lundin Consortium and Khartoum government, the lives of the inhabitants of the oil areas changed for worst. According to the Unpaid Debt report researched by European Commission on Oil, in order for oil workers to operate in a secure and safe environment and to maximize oil production, displacement program of the Nuer and Dinka people was hatched. The Sudan Armed Forces used heavy bombing, including a total of sixteen new attack helicopters. Many innocent people were forced to flee their homes. Small children died of cold on the way, and had to be left on the road. Survivors got ill from sickness such as relapsing fever, malaria, and skin diseases. Some got eaten alive by the mosquitoes, leaving rashes, scabies.

For fear of military gunships that hunted them during the day, some civilians decisively spent daytime in the woods and sneaked home during the night. But when the government learnt of the little resistance, the companies constructed a road, south of Bentiu that eased ground attacks by heavy military convoys. The military successfully burnt down homes, raped and killed the Nuer people of Bul, Leek, Jagei, Western Jikany and Dok. The Lundin-built Bridge at Bentiu also made it possible, for the first time, for the government-armed Baggara horse-backed raiders to attack and kill people in the area of Block 5A. Civilians ran for shelter further south and west, into a marshy area crossed by streams where the horses could not reach. Here, some were forced to feed on corpses of their loved ones.

Khartoum and Lundin Consortium also forged divide-and-rule technique, creating south-south aggressions. Several mutinous groups mushroomed as they received enticements in form of weapons, food and maybe cash. Paulino Matip forces frequently clashed with those of Riek Machar over control of the oil wells.

Based on the evidence and reports of the many leading human rights organizations and other public reports, the damage caused by the 1997–2003 oil war in the oil concession to be:  12,000 people killed or died from hunger, exhaustion and conflict-related diseases and 160,000 people forcibly displaced; often multiple times. Half a million cattle was also lost. The vegetation was also scotched with intent to deprive animals of pastures. See?

The International Commission of Jurists states that companies may be complicit in international crimes when they contribute to the perpetration of the crimes; when they know or should know that their conduct would be likely to do so; and when they have close relations with the principal perpetrator of the abuses or with the victims. Human rights bodies believe that Lundin Consortium, as a matter of international law may have been complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, calls by the rights activists and some sympathetic governments to investigate and hold the companies accountable have been fruitless maybe because the government of South Sudan itself does not care about its citizens that were subjected to inhumane circumstances by the same people it is doing business with today.

ECOS argues that the consortium should create enabling conditions for reconciliation with victims of the oil war, starting with the allocation of their fair share of compensation for the victims, which ECOS estimates at US $300 million. The move is one of the several recommendations meant to promote peace and achieve justice for the victims. Yet South Sudan keeps quiet. Are we too into ourselves to represent our own brothers and sisters?

Lundin Consortium shamelessly denies the act and claims it “contributed to peace and stability in the region and was actively engaged with stakeholders” while their governments brush off the issue.

In my view, given the magnitude of the atrocities committed and the way they were perpetrated, I find it nonsensical, insulting, derisive and thoughtless for South Sudan to do business with the murderers of our relatives. Or have we ceased to care for our own?

Who doesn’t know that China is both a political and economic slut? With its promiscuous behaviors, and after a decade of being in Bashir’s bed whereby she was the main puppeteer who engineered almost all the evil deeds Khartoum did to us, she jumped into Kiir’s, forgetting her underwear behind. The evident is what happened the other day. Juba had to give PetroDar president 72 hours to leave the country, for not cooperating with South Sudan and continuing to receive instructions from the government in Khartoum. When will the government learn to say no? There are a thousand companies from friendly nations that would love to trade with us. Why then do we flirt with those who did us incalculable damage? PetroDar represents the interests of its governments. They don’t give a damn about us, infrastructure.  It’s ever strictly business. No development no nothing. Have a look at their structures in Juba. Do you see any permanent ones? And by the way, who knows they might have some hidden agendas. Remember she is a slut, an international one.

Why can’t the government add voice to the international community’s at least to pressure Swedish, Austrian, Malaysian and Chinese governments to interrogate their oil companies that were involved in gross human rights violations? Remember we all believe in life after death. The babies that were held by the leg and crashed against the wall or tree trunk by merciless SAF soldiers are now watching us. The cattle keepers who watched their thousands herd of cattle driven away by the Baggara tribesmen and later died of starvation are now watching us. We are now so sovereign. We can do anything. Isn’t this the right time for us to discipline those who bullied us? Isn’t this the payback time? For how long will others fight for us? When are we going to say something about our losses? Or could the saying: “saying nothing sometimes says the most” be true?

I believe everyone knows China and Malaysia need our oil so bad. Why can’t we hold them by the balls? Just terminate all the oil contracts and many other MoUs signed with them. Suspend everything that involves them in the country. And ensure that they account for the evil acts they performed before resuming work.


Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested area would end weeks of fighting. Several bombs were dropped on Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich South Sudan border state of Unity, killing at least one child and wounding several civilians, an AFP reporter witnessed.
 Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested area would end weeks of fighting. Several bombs were dropped on Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich South Sudan border state of Unity, killing at least one child and wounding several civilians, an AFP reporter witnessed.

HEGLIG – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday there will be no more talks with South Sudan, as fresh Sudanese air raids dashed South Sudanese hopes for an end to weeks of fighting.

“No negotiation with those people,” Bashir said of the South Sudanese regime, which he earlier described as an “insect” that must be eliminated.

“Our talks with them were with guns and bullets,” he told soldiers in the main oil region of Heglig, which the South occupied for 10 days.

On Friday, Bashir and Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein – both wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region – declared the army had forced Southern soldiers out of Heglig.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had already announced that his forces would leave under “an orderly withdrawal”. His army said the pullout was completed on Sunday.

Despite the end of the occupation, the governor of South Sudan’s Unity State, Taban Deng, said Sudanese bombs fell on a key bridge and a market, killing at least two children in the state capital Bentiu on Monday.

The bombs prompted heavy bursts of gunfire from Southern soldiers hoping to shoot down Khartoum’s warplanes, said an AFP correspondent who was 50 metres (yards) from where the ordnance hit.

In the market, stalls were on fire and large plumes of grey smoke rose high into the air, as screaming civilians ran in panic.

“They have been given orders to wipe us out, they have called us insects,” Deng said, referring to Bashir’s earlier speech.

“We have been pressured by the international community to pull out of Heglig and this is the consequence, we have brought the war to home,” Deng added.

There was no immediate comment from Khartoum but a foreign ministry statement on the “liberation of Heglig” said Sudan “stresses that the government of Sudan has not, and does not intend to attack the Republic of South Sudan”.

The continued fighting sparked anger in Bentiu.

“I’m fearing that even if we give them Heglig, there will still be a war,” said shopkeeper Suleiman Ibrahim Ali. “I’m not alone – everyone is fearing the Antonov (warplanes).”

The South’s deputy director of military intelligence, Mac Paul, said: “I think it is a clear provocation.”

The attack is the latest of several along the disputed border.

The international community had called for an end to Sudan’s cross-border raids, as well as to the South’s presence in Heglig.

Southern officials said Sudanese troops had pushed across the contested border on Sunday before being repulsed after heavy fighting, although it was impossible to verify exactly where the clashes took place.

Southern troops were digging into positions fearing renewed ground attacks by Sudan, said the South’s Lieutenant General Obuto Mamur.

Kamal Marouf, a Sudanese army commander, claimed in Heglig Monday that more than 1,000 South Sudan troops were killed in the clashes.

“The numbers of killed from SPLM are 1,200,” Marouf said in an address to thousands of his soldiers as a stench of death filled the air.

The toll is impossible to verify but an AFP correspondent who accompanied Marouf said the putrid bodies of dead South Sudanese soldiers lay beneath trees which are scattered about the area.

Sudan has not said how many of its own soldiers died in the operation.

The main oil processing facility in Heglig – providing about half of Sudan’s crude – was heavily damaged, an AFP correspondent reported.

A storage tank was destroyed by fire, eight generators which provided power to the facility were also burned, and some oil was leaking onto the ground at the plant operated by Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC).

Both sides have accused each other of damaging the oil infrastructure.

The violence in Heglig was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which an estimated two million people died.

The South pulled out from Heglig after international pressure, but is calling on Khartoum to withdraw its troops from the contested Abyei region, which it seized last May.

Tensions have mounted over the border and other unresolved issues, raising concerns in recent weeks about the possibility of a wider war.

After the Heglig occupation, US President Barack Obama, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the African Union urged Sudan and South Sudan to resume talks.

© Copyright (c) AFP
South Sudan Accuses Khartoum of Air Attacks
New York Times
NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan attacked South Sudan with warplanes and ground troops, only days after Sudan said its military had forced the south’s forces out of a contested oil-rich region, South Sudan said on Monday. South Sudan said last week that it had

Sudan’s Bashir says no talks as new air raids hit South
Regina Leader-Post
Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) sing pro-war songs at April 23, 2012 at a base in Bentiu. Sudanese war planes launched a fresh bombing raid on a key South Sudanese town Monday, dashing hopes that a withdrawal of Southern troops from a contested 
Amid dispute over oil, Sudan bombs South Sudanese towns
Christian Science Monitor
When South Sudan declared independence from Sudan, it took three quarters of the formerly united country’s oil, which has since been a source of tension and conflict. By Tom A. Peter, Correspondent / April 23, 2012 A SPLA soldier walks in a market 

Sudan MiGs bomb market in South Sudan
Kitsap Sun
BENTIU, South Sudan (AP) — Sudanese warplanes bombed a major town Monday in South Sudan, hitting a market and killing a boy while wounding at least 10 people. South Sudanese troops fired back as the threat of full-scale war between the two nations 

South Sudan accuses Sudan of bombings, Khartoum denies
Chicago Tribune
KHARTOUM/BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudan and newly-independent South Sudanaccused each other of launching fresh attacks on their territories on Sunday as neither side showed any sign of bowing to global pressure to return to the negotiating 

South Sudan: UN condemns aerial bombardments in Unity state
UN News Centre
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) today deplored the continued aerial bombardments in Bentiu town in the country’s Unity state, and called on the country and its neighbour, Sudan, to take all measures to ensure the safety of civilians.

CP World Report: Chuck Colson, South Sudan, God Spot, Face Britain Project
Christian Post
As tensions between Sudan and South Sudan escalate into military combat on the border, ChristianSouth Sudan citizens are trapped in Sudan and living in fear. Many among the half million of them have never lived anywhere else, and now they have been 

Machar admits South Sudan’s poor diplomacy over Heglig occupation

Sudan Tribune
April 22, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar says his nine-month-old country performed poorly on the diplomatic front during its occupation of the contested Heglig oil region on the north-south border, which South Sudan’s army 
UN-AU peacekeepers attacked in Darfur, 4 wounded
Sudan Tribune
On Friday, Ibrahim Gambari, the head of UNAMID expressed concern that Darfur’s rebel groups were attempting to exploit the current border conflict between Sudan and South Sudan, which seceded last year. “In the climate of ongoing tensions between Sudan 
Sudan: Blue Nile Civilians Describe Attacks, Abuses
Human Rights Watch
As in neighboring Southern Kordofan, which Human Rights Watch visited in August 2011, civilians in Blue Nile continue to endure Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing and other abuses, even as new conflict between Sudan and South Sudan threatens to engulf the 
Sudan bombs South Sudan border area, kills 3 – witnesses
By Hereward Holland | OUTSIDE BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudanese warplanes carried out air strikes on South Sudan on Monday, killing three people near a southern oil town, residents and military officials said, three days after South Sudan pulled 

Official: Sudan bombs S.Sudan, killing a boy
Huffington Post
April 23, 2012 03:25 AM EST | AP BENTIU, South Sudan — An official and a witness say Sudanese aircraft have bombed an area near Bentiu, the capital of Unity State in South Sudan, killing a boy and leaving at least two people wounded. Maj. Gen.

EAC Council of Ministers Vets South Sudan Application
By Eric Kabeera, 23 April 2012 On Wednesday, the 24th Extraordinary Meeting of the East African Community’s Council of Ministers will discuss and set up a verification committee to probe if South Sudan meets the criteria to join the bloc.

In the World
Philadelphia Inquirer
MICHAEL ONYIEGO / AP A soldier in South Sudan, injured in the Sudan attack, has a bullet removed from his leg. BENTIU, South Sudan – Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than six miles inside South Sudan’s border, an official said Sunday, 

Standard will open in South Sudan
Business Day
FEARS of an all-out-war with Sudan have not dissuaded Standard Bank from formally opening itsSouth Sudan branch within days. Standard Bank Africa CEO Chris Newson has said: “We have been doing business and supporting the government of South Sudan  

Sudan launches attacks in South Sudan despite Heglig withdrawal

Posted: April 23, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Sudan, S. Sudan clash despite Heglig withdrawal

Deutsche Welle –

Clashes erupted again over the weekend between Sudan and South Sudan, as southern forces reportedly withdrew from the oil-producing region at the heart of the conflict. The south said it was “building up troops.” Sudanese and South Sudanese forces – ‎
Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than nine kilometres inside South Sudan’s border, an official said Sunday, days after the south announced it was pulling its troops from a disputed border town to avoid an all-out war between the two – ‎
By Alexander Dziadosz and Hereward Holland KHARTOUM/BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – Sudan and newly-independent South Sudan accused each other of launching fresh attacks on their territories on Sunday as neither side showed any sign of bowing to global 
Nigerian Tribune – ‎
Satellite pictures of the disputed border area occupied by South Sudan for 10 days suggest key oil installations have been badly damaged. The pictures appear to show significant parts of the Heglig oilfield in Sudan are no longer operating.
Sky News Australia – ‎
Sudan withdrawal from oil field complete Updated: 12:33, Monday April 23, 2012 South Sudan’s army says it has completed its pullout from an oil field seized from Sudan, ending a deadly stand-off which forced thousands of civilians to flee.
Pakistan Observer – ‎
Khartoum—South Sudan’s army has completed its withdrawal from Sudan’s main Heglig oil field, the military said Sunday, but condemned the north for bombing the area. Juba seized the flashpoint oil hub on 10 April, claiming that Khartoum was using Heglig 
ABC Online –
Hundreds of soldiers and mercenaries were killed in a battle for a disputed oil field, the Sudanese government claims. Nafie Ali Nafie, a top aide to Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, said the death toll in the battle for Heglig “amounted to 400”, 
Herald Sun – ‎
SOUTH Sudan’s army says it has completed its pullout from an oil field seized from Sudan, ending a deadly stand-off which forced thousands of civilians to flee. South Sudanese officials say the withdrawal from Heglig had been ordered to avert a return 
Channel News Asia – ‎
KHARTOUM, Sudan: Sudanese forces killed hundreds of South Sudanese during a days-long battle for Sudan’s most important oil field Heglig, a senior official said Sunday. Nafie Ali Nafie, a top aide to President Omar al-Bashir, said the “death toll 
Toronto Star – ‎‎
Alan Boswell McClatchy Newspapers BENTIU—Sudanese forces launched a major attack along the border with South Sudan after the South Sudanese army withdrew from a disputed oilfield on Friday, signalling that the recent border war between the two 
Irish Times – ‎‎
BENTIU – South Sudan yesterday accused Sudan of launching fresh air strikes against the new nation, but Khartoum denied that, saying it had repulsed a “major” rebel attack on a town in its South Kordofan state. The war of words came after weeks of 
Voice of America (blog) – ‎
Sudanese officials claim that 400 South Sudan troops were killed during the battle for the flashpoint town of Heglig, an oil-producing area claimed by both countries. South Sudanese troops completed their withdrawal from Heglig Sunday, 
Sydney Morning Herald – ‎
South Sudan’s army said on Sunday it had completed its pull-out from an oil field seized from Sudan, ending a deadly standoff which forced thousands of civilians to flee. South Sudanese officials said the withdrawal from Heglig had been ordered to – ‎
Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than six miles inside South Sudan’s border on Sunday, as the South’s army said it had completed its pullout from the disputed Heglig oil field. By Our Foreign Staff Ground troops from Sudan reportedly 
Chicago Tribune – ‎
* South says Sudan struck 10 km over border * Sudan says repelled south-backed rebels * Talks hopes dampened, Sudan mulls compensation * Mob ransacks church complex in Khartoum By Alexander Dziadosz and Hereward Holland KHARTOUM/BENTIU, South Sudan, 
The Independent – ‎
A Muslim mob set ablaze a Catholic church frequented by Southern Sudanese in the capital Khartoum late on Saturday. The incident appeared to be part of the fallout from ongoing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan over control of an oil town on 
Independent Online –
By Hereward Holland A soldier from South Sudan’s SPLA army holds his rifle near an oil field in Unity State. South Sudan and neighbouring Sudan remain at odds despite global pressure for them to iron out their differences.
The Daily Star –
KHARTOUM/BENTIU: Sudan said Sunday it had repulsed a “major” rebel attack on a strategic town in its South Kordofan state, the latest outbreak of violence in its volatile border area with South Sudan. Rebels had launched an attack on Talodi, 
Pakistan Daily Times – ‎‎
BENTIU: South Sudan’s army said on Sunday it had completed its pullout from an oil field seized from the rival Sudanese regime, ending a bitter standoff which forced thousands of civilians to flee. South Sudanese officials said the withdrawal from 
Daily Monitor – ‎‎
By Nicholas Kalungi (email the author) Beating war drums. The two countries have for the past year had tensions that are threatening to turn into a full-scale war. Ugandan traders are worried that the latest clashes between South Sudan and Sudan will 
Vanguard – ‎
BENTIU – South Sudan, April 22, 2012 (AFP) – South Sudan’s army said Sunday it had completed its pullout from an oil field seized from the rival Sudanese regime, ending a bitter standoff which forced thousands of civilians to flee.
CNN International –
By Jared Ferrie, For CNN South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said rival Sudan began a series of attacks Sunday morning. Juba, South Sudan (CNN) — South Sudan accused Sudan of launching ground and aerial attacks inside South 
BBC News –
Fighting has broken out on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, shortly after the South pulled out of a disputed border town. South Sudanese military officials say they repulsed ground and air attacks. Sudan confirmed there had been clashes, 
News24 – ‎
Khartoum – A Muslim mob has destroyed a church compound in Sudan, the pastor said on Sunday, amid a mood of nationalist fervour after Khartoum said it liberated an oilfield occupied by South Sudan. Pastor Yousif Matar Kodi said hundreds of people 
Chicago Tribune – ‎
* S.Sudan says Sudan launched air strikes, Khartoum denies * Sudan says rebels attacked border town * Border clashes have brought full-blown civil war closer (Recasts with South Sudan accusations, Sudan’s denial) By Hereward Holland BENTIU, 
euronews – ‎
By Hereward Holland BENTIU, South Sudan (Reuters) – South Sudan on Sunday accused Sudan of launching fresh air strikes against the new nation, but Khartoum denied that, saying it had repulsed a “major” rebel attack on a town in its South Kordofan state – ‎
FEARS OF WAR: Sudanese soldiers celebrate the withdrawal of South Sudan from the disputed Heglig region, during a celebration march outside Sudan’s Defence Ministry in Khartoum. South Sudan has accused its neighbour Sudan of bombing its troops as they 
Oman Daily Observer –
BENTIU, South Sudan — South Sudan’s army said yesterday that its troops faced fresh aerial bombardments from Sudan as they completed their pullout from the flashpoint Heglig oil field. Juba seized the oil hub on April 10, claiming that Khartoum was 
RT –
South Sudan’s SPLA soldiers hold up their weapons as they shout at a military base in Bentiu April 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) The ongoing military standoff between Sudan and South Sudan has forced thousands from their homes, fearing for their 
BENTIU, South Sudan (AP) – Sudanese armed forces launched an attack more than six miles inside South Sudan’s border, an official said Sunday, days after the south announced it was pulling its troops from a disputed border town to avoid an all-out war 

BENTIU – South Sudan, April 22, 2012 (AFP) – South Sudan’s army said Sunday it had completed its pullout from an oil field seized from the rival Sudanese regime, ending a bitter standoff which forced thousands of civilians to flee.

South Sudanese officials said the withdrawal from Heglig had been ordered to avert a return to all-out war. But they accused forces of the Khartoum-based Sudanese government of carrying out aerial bombardment on the departing troops.

The South’s troops seized Heglig on April 10, claiming Khartoum was using it as a base to attack the South’s oil-producing Unity State.

Heglig is internationally regarded as part of Sudan, although South Sudan disputes it. The 10-day occupation by the world’s newest nation met widespread criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who called it illegal.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Friday announced his forces would carry out “an orderly withdrawal” from the area. On Sunday, a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman said all southern troops had left.

The SPLA “completed its withdrawal from Heglig yesterday” spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP.

But, he charged, as the withdrawal was ongoing, Khartoum’s air force “continued bombing on the night of the (Friday April) 20th and in the morning of the 21st”.

The two sides have offered contradictory explanations for recent developments in Heglig.

On Friday, Sudan said its soldiers had “liberated” the oil field by force, despite Kiir’s earlier announcement of a withdrawal.

The South Sudanese UN Ambassador Agnes Oswaha has said Juba decided to withdraw “because it does not wish to see a return to war.”

The Heglig violence was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which about two million people died.

The United Nations said Sunday the entire population of Heglig had fled the standoff, leaving thousands of civilians displaced in the open.

“According to the government of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and other reports received by the UN, the entire civilian population of Heglig town and neighbouring villages fled,” the UN’s humanitarian agency said.

The report cited HAC figures saying 5,000 people had escaped from Heglig, mostly to the communities of Kharasana and Keilak, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Heglig, Sudan’s main oilfield.

Tensions have gradually mounted over the disputed border and other unresolved issues, raising fears in recent weeks about concerns of a wider war.

Continental and foreign powers have urged negotation to avert further escalation, with US President Barack Obama on Friday calling on the two sides to “have the courage to return to the table and negotiate and resolve these issues peacefully.”

Kiir heads to China on Monday for an official visit to a country long-considered Khartoum’s ally, although Beijing has developed closer ties with Juba, notably in the petroleum sector.

“China’s position on that issue is to promote dialogue and urge peace. It does not favour any side,” said Li Guangyi, professor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Xiangtan in central China.

“Fighting is not only not beneficial to them (Sudan and South Sudan), it isn’t beneficial to China either,” he added.

The African Union (AU), which has for years sought to broker a sustainable peace between the bitter rivals, on Sunday again called for “a complete cessation of all hostilities,” and a swift resumption of talks.

Both sides should consider their “responsibility towards their region, the rest of Africa and the larger international community,” the AU statement said.

Since the invasion, oil production at Heglig has been shut and facilities there were leaking. Each side accused the other of damaging the oil infrastructure, which accounted for about half of the north’s production.

South Sudan formally gained independence from Khartoum in July.

Also on Sunday, Sudan claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) who allegedly attacked the strategic town of Talodi.

“Fighting is still going on,” Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad told reporters, while a rebel spokesman reached by AFP had no information and said “things are not clear.”

Sudan: 400 Southern Soldiers Killed in Fight Over Heglig

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 

Sudanese officials claim that 400 South Sudan troops were killed during the battle for the flashpoint town of Heglig, an oil-producing area claimed by both countries.

South Sudanese troops completed their withdrawal from Heglig Sunday, saying the number of soldiers killed is just a fraction of what Sudan claims. Estimates of casualties in Sudan are impossible to verify.

The showdown over Heglig and its lucrative oil fields is raising fears of a full-scale war, less than a year after South Sudan declared independence from the north.

South Sudan said it pulled troops out of Heglig because of international pressure. But Sudan says the southern forces withdrew because they were on the verge of defeat.

The international community has pressed both sides to halt cross-border attacks and restart dialogue to settle unresolved issues, including oil revenue and citizenship disputes.

U.S. President Barack Obama is appealing to both governments to avoid war and return to peace talks. He says there is no military solution to their dispute.

Mr. Obama Saturday called on both governments to stop arming rebels across their borders and to allow aid groups access to people caught in the fighting.

The north and south signed a peace deal in 2005 that ended a 21-year civil war that killed more than two million people. The deal included an independence referendum for the south.

Renewed fighting on Sudan border near disputed oilfield

Fighting has broken out on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, shortly after the South pulled out of a disputed border town. South Sudanese military officials say they repulsed ground and air attacks.

Sudan confirmed there had been clashes, which come after 10 days of fighting over the oilfield town of Heglig.

Satellite pictures of the Heglig area released on Sunday suggest key oil installations were badly damaged in the fighting and are no longer operating.

The pictures were analysed by the US-funded Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), which says it is impossible to know who was responsible for the damage.

Sudan and South Sudan have accused each other of attacking oil facilities. On Friday South Sudan said it was withdrawing from Heglig, while Sudan said it forced out the South’s troops.

Access to the disputed border region around Heglig is limited, making it difficult to verify what is happening in the area.

The renewed fighting has been taking place to the south of the Heglig oilfields, although it is unclear which side of the disputed border it is happening.

Sudan military officials said its forces had repulsed a major rebel attack.

The BBC’s James Copnall who is in the border town of Bentiu says the fighting makes it clear that tension has not eased, and also underlines that all-out war is still a possibility.

He says South Sudan is building up its troops near the border, and is assuming that Sudan is doing the same.

‘Runway lengthened’

The satellite pictures provided by SSP suggest that the oil industry has been deliberately targeted in the earlier fighting.

One picture appears to show an oil collection point at the end of two pipelines has been destroyed, leaving charred wreckage over a wide area.

SSP says it is impossible to know whether the damage was done by aerial bombing or ground attacks.

Others show tanks, smoke rising from explosions that are consistent with aerial bombing, and cratering.

There are also pictures showing that the Sudan Air Force runway in South Kordofan has been paved and lengthened to allow Antonov bombers to land there.

SSP, which was set up to campaign against the return to full-scale civil war between the two countries, used pictures from DigitalGlobe satellites, which were analysed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

SSP receives funding from the Not on Our Watch project, founded by US activists including the actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

On Friday South Sudan said it would withdraw from the Heglig area, while Sudan said its forces had re-taken control of the area.

The area north of the disputed border provides most of of Sudan’s oil output, and is a crucial part of its economy.

Meanwhile on Monday the South Sudan President Salva Kiir is travelling to China for an official visit, Agence France-Presse reports.