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January 12, 2012 (BOR) – A local minister in South Sudan’s beleaguered state of Jonglei has alleged that Murle ethnic raiders who allegedly killed more than 40 people during a fresh round of revenge attacks include defectors from the country’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

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                                                  Internally displaced people, Pibor county, Jonglei state (OCHA)

South Sudan emerged as an independent state in July last year following years of political and military struggle with north Sudan. But the new and grossly underdeveloped country has plunged into an episode of violence that saw a number of rebel groups rising and rival tribal communities engaging in mutual atrocities over cattle rustling.

Jonglei State has been the scene of violent raids and counter raids between the Lou Nuer and Murle ethnic communities.

The attacks, which began on 23 December with the Lou Nuer attacking Murle’s homeland in Pibor county and subsequent revenge attacks by the latter, has left 1,000 dead and 60,000 displaced, according to UN figures.

The most recent attack was reported on Thursday by Wek boma [small district] local administrator, Tip Chuol, who told Sudan Tribune that youth from the Murle at 5 pm local time on Wednesday attacked Uror county, targeting Wek and Panyok villages in Tiam payam [district]. Tiam is a north-westerly district of Uror, a large county in the centre of Jonglei state.

“The attackers are not only armed civilians but included SPLA defectors from the Murle,” said Rachael Nyadak Pual, Jonglei state minister of labour and public services.

Nyadak, who is also MP for Uror county in Jonglei state assembly, spoke to reporters from airstrip at Bor, the state capital, before heading to Wek and Panyok in Tiam ayam [district].

The Pibor county commissioner, Joshua Konyi, said that conflict between the ethnic groups left 3,000 dead; a figure described as baseless by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson.

Akobo county commissioner, Goi Joyol, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that Tuesday’s counter raid by the Murle near the UNMISS base in Padoi, Akobo, continued until early hours of Wednesday and left eight dead. Akobo is in the east of Jonglei.

Uror county commissioner, Simon Hoth Dol, told the Sudan Tribune on Thursday that Wednesday’s attack left 41 people dead, including head chief, Jany Lual,

Another Uror county MP in Jonglei state assembly, Mabior Bol, told journalists later that over sixty people are dead. The figures could not be independently verified as the area is remote and residents could not be contacted by phone.

MPs and Dol traveled to the scene to assess the damages on Thursday.,41272



Apple’s Jonathan Ive gets knighthood in honours list

Posted: December 31, 2011 by nyanyung in World

Jonathan Ive
Mr Ive has been behind many of the iconic gadgets of the last 15 years

Jonathan Ive, Apple’s head of design, has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

Mr Ive, who can now style himself Sir Jonathan, has been made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE).

Raised in Chingford, Mr Ive began working for Apple in 1992 and since then has been the brains behind many of its products.

He described the honour as “absolutely thrilling” and said he was “both humbled and sincerely grateful”.

Mr Ive added: “I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making.

“I discovered at an early age that all I’ve ever wanted to do is design.”

Team work

Mr Ive has been lauded for the tight fit between form and function seen in Apple gadgets such as the iPod and iPhone.

Born in February 1967, Mr Ive inherited a love of making things from his father, a silversmith, and reportedly spent much of his youth taking things apart to see how they worked.

From the age of 14, he said, he knew he was interested in drawing and making “stuff” and this led him to Northumbria Polytechnic – now Northumbria University – where he studied industrial design.

On graduation he started work as a commercial designer and then, with three friends, founded a design agency called Tangerine.

One of the clients for the agency was Apple which was so impressed with the work he did on a prototype notebook that it offered him a full-time job.

Mr Ive was apparently frustrated during his early years at Apple as the company was then suffering a decline. Everything changed, however, in 1995 when Steve Jobs returned to the company he helped found.

“He has a very determined sense of getting things right” Deyan Sudjic Design Museum

“What’s made him so outstandingly successful is the relationship he’s had with Steve Jobs and Apple,” said Deyan Sudjic, director of The Design Museum.

“He’s been working there for 19 years and has built up the kind of relationship that’s very rare.”

Mr Jobs described Mr Ive as his “spiritual partner” in the recent biography of the Apple co-founder written by Walter Isaacson. However, it also said that Mr Ive was “hurt” by Mr Jobs taking credit for innovations that came from the design team.

Mr Ive’s eye for design combined effectively with Mr Jobs’ legendary attention to detail and the products that have emerged from the company since the late 1990s have turned Apple into the biggest and most influential technology company on the planet.

Mr Sudjic said Mr Ive’s talent was to help people stop worrying about technology and just get on with using it.

There have been some mis-steps along the way. Most recently, Apple’s iPhone 4 was criticised because many people said signal strength dropped when their hand touched the phone’s metal case. This was thought to be because the antenna for the handset formed part of the device’s metal shell.

In contrast to many other design celebrities, said Mr Sudjic, Mr Ive had not cashed in on his fame but had let what he and his team created speak for itself.

Mr Sudjic said: “He has a very determined sense of getting things right.”

The knighthood is the second time Mr Ive has been recognised in the honour’s list. In 2005 he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

December 31, 2011 (JUBA) –South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, has called on Lou-Nuer youth to implement the verbal agreement he reached with them on Wednesday 28th December 2011 and withdraw back to the Nuer territory. Machar warned them not to advance towards Pibor county headquarters of the Murle community.

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Vice President, Riek Machar, tells Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw from Linkwangale, Dec. 28, 2011 (ST)

Earlier this week, several thousands of armed Lou-Nuer youth marched onto Murle land and captured a strategic payam called Likwangole, which is about 25 kilometers from the county headquarters. The youth announced that they would continue to capture Pibor headquarters and other payams and villages until the Murle community was completely “liberated and disarmed”.

The group claimed that they were carrying out a revenge attack for the killing of more than 700 of their members, mostly women and children, by armed youth from the Murle community in a village called Pieriin August. According to officials this was the first major surprise attack since independence in July this year.

According to the Vice President’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, who accompanied the Vice President to Pibor county, Machar flew to the isolated payam of Likwangole on Wednesday to try to convince the Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw and move back to their territory.

The youth, who at first refused to meet with Machar, finally agreed to withdraw on the condition that their wounded were evacuated first, before they withdrew to the Lou-Nuer area.

The wounded were evacuated on Thursday and on Friday the Lou-Nuer youth informed the Vice President, who was spending the night with them, that they were withdrawing to Lou-Nuer. However instead of withdrawing they diverted their route towards the Pibor county headquarters.

The Governor of Jonglei State, Kuol Manyang Juuk, told the BBC on Friday that the youth were now demanding that the Lou-Nuer women and children who had been abducted must be handed over by the Murle community before they would stop their attacks.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that they had intercepted about six thousand armed Lou-Nuer youth moving toward Pibor county headquarters on Friday burning villages and taking cattle on the way.

According to the UN report, tens of thousands of civilians had already fled from Pibor town on Friday, into the bush in fear of imminent attack. UNMISS has already deployed a battalion of its troops in Pibor town to protect the civilians, in addition to the SPLA forces on the ground.

The Jonglei State Governor warned that the deployed UN forces were insufficient and would not be able to contain the situation or stop the marching Lou-Nuer youth from attacking the town.

On Friday, the Vice President, Machar, who is still in the affected Murle area of Likwangole, continued to try to stop the youth from further movement into the interior of the Murle land.

On Friday he spoke on the phone with the leader of the Lou-Nuer youth, Bor Doang, who assured the Vice President that he would order his group to stop advancing toward Pibor town and return back to Lou-Nuer.

However it is not yet clear whether or not the youth leader will hold true to his word, despite the fact that the attack on Pibor town did not occur as feared on Friday.


Nelson Mandela
Former President Mandela was in Qunu, the village where he grew up, when the false story spread

A South African newspaper has apologised after tweeting an inaccurate report that former President Nelson Mandela had been hospitalised.

The Times had sourced the story from another account which appears to belong to a Johannesburg-based radio DJ. The paper has 30,000 Twitter followers.

The news was later denied by the Presidency.

Experts say the affair highlights the dangers of journalists tweeting about unsubstantiated stories.

Mr Mandela was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down five years later. He was treated for a respiratory infection earlier this year.

Tweet trail

The Times’s original tweet said: “Former president Nelson Mandela is in hospital, according to reports. Watch this space for more information.”

The news was rapidly retweeted by other members of the social network. However one wrote: “Wow @TimesLIVE how can you tweet that Mandela snippet when the info is NOT verified?? Irresponsible!!”

The newspaper replied: “A reporter has received a call and we are in the process of confirming.”

Shortly after it added: “Mandela is not in hospital. We apologise for following up an incorrect lead.”

It went on to tweet that the former President was “fine and resting in Qunu”.

After the BBC called the Times’ offices, the newspaper deleted the original tweet.

Old footage

The paper apparently picked up on the story from another account, which it believed belonged to Kaya FM breakfast show host Bob Mabena.

@bob959 had tweeted, “Breaking news – Nelson Mandela is in hospital” earlier that morning.

He later corrected himself writing: “Was called in studio 2 watch eNews. Saw live visuals & tweeted. Stupid mistake. Shud’ve confirmed. Apologies.”

The message referred to an end-of-year review shown on the channel Eyewitness News which contained footage of Mr Mandela being taken to hospital in January.

A later message posted to the account said: “Learned a very hard & heart stopping lesson.”

Mr Mabena could not be reached to confirm that he had sent the messages. Kaya FM’s news team said it had been unable to contact Mr Mabena following the report.

After several journalists called President Zuma’s office a spokesman released a statement.

“The presidency has received calls from the media enquiring about Madiba’s health,” it said. In South Africa, Mr Mandela is often referred to by his clan’s name, Madiba.

“It appears that an end of year review done by a media house may have unfortunately triggered a rumour of ill-health.”

Death hoaxes

This is not the first untrue story about the former president’s health to spread through the internet.

In January one user tweeted “RIP Nelson Mandela” which was forwarded by others, causing the phrase to trend worldwide. A second set of rumours was denied in September.

Over recent weeks the singers Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Jon Bon Jovi have all suffered similar hoaxes. Mr Bon Jovi even posted a picture to prove he was still alive.

News organisations have also become embroiled in hoaxes. A tweet from Fox’s foxnewspolitics account claimed President Obama had been assassinated on 4 July. The organisation said the account had been hacked.

Last year CNN was forced to deny that Morgan Freeman was dead after a Twitter member created a fake retweet that went viral which had said: “RT @CNN: Breaking News: actor Morgan has passed away in his Burbank home.”

Accuracy versus speed

Jon Bon Jovi Jon Bon Jovi uploaded a photo to prove reports of his death were false

However, there have been several cases where journalists have been criticised for giving unverified reports credibility by tweeting them themselves.

In November a series of tweets appeared claiming that “Tiger” Tim Stevens, a DJ at the Glasgow-based station Radio Clyde had died. The messages were spread by journalists and friends who believed them to be true. Several stated that the story had not been confirmed.

The event led to a debate in the local media about whether members of the media industry should be more careful about passing on unchecked stories.

“Twitter reminds us of the difference between professional journalism and the thing that people call citizen journalism,” said Tim Luckhurst, professor of journalism at the university of Kent and the former editor of the Scotsman newspaper.

“A professional journalist is a reporter who checks facts accurately and reports only what he or she knows to be true.

“Journalists have been tempted to use social media to break stories quickly, but journalists should always remember that accuracy is at least as important, if not more important, than speed.

“The reason that people turn to professional journalists for information on which they can rely is because they believe that professional journalists check that the information they are reporting is accurate.”

December 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Government of Sudan has lodged a complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) among other world organizations alleging the arrival of Darfur rebel forces to the Republic South Sudan, and warning the latter to refrain from supporting them.

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FILE – JEM fighters

A statement issued on Thursday by Sudan’s foreign ministry said that the country’s government had filed a complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) and later extended it to the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) among other international organization against the arrival South Sudan of a military force belonging to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a rebel group from Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

The complaint, according to Sudan’s official news agency SUNA, states that a JEM force with an estimated strength of 350 combatants and 79 armored vehicles managed on Wednesday to traverse the borders between Darfur and South Sudan, and settled in an area called Tumsaha south of the 1956 border between the recently separated countries.

JEM was involved in fighting this week against government forces in the west of North Kordofan State, where official reports spoke of havoc wreaked by the rebels and the group lost its leader Khalil Ibrahim who was killed in an airstrike conducted by a fighter jet.

The Sudanese government claimed that Khalil was shepherding his forces towards South Sudan when he was killed.

Khartoum’s complaint mentioned that JEM forces had crossed the borders between South Darfur State and northern Bahr al-Ghazal state in South Sudan through “Al-Sarag and Sakara” crossing point south of Ed Daein.

The complaint further claimed that JEM’s injured soldiers had been taken to Gog Mashar hospital in Tumsaha area, and reported that the rebels had also setup a camp close to Raja area in Western Bahr Al-Ghazal state in order to train their fighters.

The Sudanese government asked the UNSC to help it to pressure South Sudan’s government to withhold any form of assistance to JEM forces, disarm them and extradite those among them who are wanted by the Sudanese government.

“The way in which the Republic of South Sudan will handle this matter will reflect on the progress of normalization between the two countries and their future relationship, therefore Sudan asks the state of South Sudan to deal with this matter in a manner that demonstrates its seriousness in pursuing good neighborhood and in line with its international obligations”

This is the third time Sudan complains to the UN against South Sudan since the latter seceded to form an independent state in July. The two previous complaints accused South Sudan of supporting the rebels Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N,) which is fighting the Sudanese government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the borders with the South, as well as Darfur rebel groups.

Juba, which also accuses Khartoum of supporting rebel groups in its territories, denied the charges and asked Khartoum to seek a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The SPLM-N and JEM along with two other rebel factions from Darfur forged an alliance in November and pledged to hold joint military operations in order to topple the government of Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in its latest Sudan Weekly Humanitarian bulletin that state and UN security sources had observed the occurrence of a military buildup on both sides of the border between South Darfur and South Sudan’s Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal state near the Bahr el Arab/Kiir River.


South Sudan VP attempts to stop Jonglei violence

Posted: December 30, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

December 29, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, attempted to stop further conflict in Jonglei state by visiting the affected areas on Wednesday.

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Lou Nuer youth leader speakingin Linkuangole, Jonglei state. 28 Dec. 2011

It is unclear whether the reconciliation efforts have worked with reports that Lou Nuer youth have raided Pibor county, despite Machar’s call for an end to hostilities.

Machar addressed Lou Nuer youth in Linkuangole Payam [district] on Wednesday as part of effort to end a week of clashes that has killed over scores of people.

In a video recorded in Linkuangole on Wednesday extended to Sudan Tribune, a huge number of armed youths are seen shouting as their leader addresses them in presence of a high level delegation led by Machar on Wednesday.

Lou Nuer youth launched a retaliatory attack on villages in Linkuangole in Pibor county, home to the Murle tribe on December 23. Officials from Pibor put the death toll at twenty-four with five people wounded.

A person in the team that visited Linkuangole with Vice President on Wednesday told the Sudan Tribune that there are several dead bodies lying in the street of the deserted district headquarters.

The source said that the Lou Nuer has lost over 40 people in the fight but the group had taken control of the area and many buildings had been set on fire.

In the video, the Vice President is seen introducing, South Sudan’s justice minister, John Luk. Luk failed to win the parliamentary seat for the area in the 2010 elections, losing to independent candidate Timothy Taban.

Machar told the thousands of Luo Nuer youth gathered in the area to cease hostilities and return to their villages.

The group responded by criticising the South Sudan government’s response to previous attacks allegedly carried out by Murle on their land, adding that no top government official even paid a visit.

Lou Nuer attacked Murle villages in June in response to what they said repeated cattle raids and child abduction. In August, Murle raided Lou Nuer villages in retaliation. The clashes have killed over 1,000 people in Jonglei state this year alone, according to the United Nations.

On Wednesday, the executive director of Pibor county, Allan Kirera, said at least 20 people have died on Murle side in the recent fighting.

Machar’s intervention was an attempt to stop the Lou-Nuer youth from advancing to capture the Pibor county headquarters of Murle community.

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South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar (Centre) addressing the youth as Justice minister John Luk (Left) looks on in Linkuangole, Jonglei state. 28 Dec. 2011

According to youth leaders, more than nine thousand heavily armed Lou-Nuer youth this week mobilised themselves and moved towards Murle land with the intention to carry out revenge attacks and capture all payams and county headquarters of Murle land and to disarm the Murle community by force.

On Monday they captured the strategic Likwangale payam which is only 25 kilometers from the Pibor county headquarters. They also destroyed a number of villages and planned to attack Pibor county headquarters itself on Wednesday in addition to other payams including Buma and Gumruk payams.

The Vice President, Riek Machar, accompanied by the Minister of Justice, John Luk Jok, and a number of members of the national parliament from Lou-Nuer and Murle on Wednesday left Juba for Jonglei to try and prevent further violence.

Flown into the captured town of Linkwangale by a United Nations helicopter, with only ten bodyguards was engulfed by thousands of armed and angry youth as soon as he landed. Some of them asked him to go back immediately, saying they would not accept to meet with him if he came to stop the fighting.

The scene, witnessed by Sudan Tribune, was chaotic as the Vice President insisted that he must meet with them and tell them the message he carried as he began to move from the airstrip to the middle of the burnt town where their top leaders were. As he reached the center the visibly angry youth reluctantly accepted to listen to him.

“Don’t even clap for him even if he says good things,” shouted one of the youth organisers.

The youth leaders criticised the government, saying it overprotected the Murle community at the expense of the Lou-Nuer community. They said they were taking revenge for the attack against their community by Murle in August in a village called Pieri in which more than 700 people mostly women and children are reported to have been killed.

The August incident was the first major intercommunity attack after South Sudan gained independence in July this year.

The youth also claimed that the government had failed to disarm the Murle so they had been forced to take the law into their own hands to capture the Murle towns and villages and disarm the community by force on behalf of the government.

“We are at war [with the Murle], why do you come now,” one of the youth leaders asked the Vice President.

“Don’t accept that we meet with him [Vice President]. If we let him speak to us he will try to neutralise the fighting mood we have,” shouted another.

The leader and commander of the Lou-Nuer youth, Bor Doang, in the meeting told the Vice President that his youth had come to stay for few months in Murle land until all their areas were liberated and disarmed.

Doang said 63 of his people were wounded during the fighting but was reluctant to reveal how many of his men had died.


The Vice President urged the Lou-Nuer youth to withdraw from the town they captured and go back to Lou-Nuer land. He also warned them not to attempt to attack any of the other Murle towns including the Pibor county headquarters, saying what they were doing was a big crime. The youth wanted their wounded to be evacuated first before they could begin to withdraw, which was done on Thursday.

The Vice President said he will spend the night with them on Thursday to make sure that they move out from the area. He also said he would track their movement and follow them until they cross back into Lou-Nuer territory.

In Pibor county headquarters, the Vice President met with the Murle community leaders and asked them to call back their youth who went to the Lou-Nuer land to come back so that he can meet with them inside Pibor town on Sunday.

The population of Pibor has reduced significantly because people have evacuated for fear of imminent attack by the Lou-Nuer youth, according to the acting county commissioner, Allan.

The Acting Commissioner said he could not determine the total number of his people killed because many are still missing.

During the Thursday meeting in Pibor town, the Murle youth leaders said that the Jonglei state administration did not care about the conflict between the Lou-Nuer, Dinka Bor and Murle communities. The Vice President however refuted this, saying it was the Lou-Nuer and Murle who were responsible for the violence.

Situated in Jonglei state, Lou-Nuer community is one of the ten major sections of the Nuer tribe and the single biggest community in the state.


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Governor Kuol Manyang and his ministers and commissioners posed for a group photo after swearing—in ceremony in Bor on Thursday December 29, 2011 (ST)

Eleven county commissioners, including five new faces, took oath of office in Bor on Thursday after being appointed by Governor Kuol Manyang who witnessed the swearing ceremony.

In his address to the local leaders, governor said that division of state in counties is not separation of people into tribal clauses.

“Our system of governance, according to our constitutions, divides the country into counties (…) in line with the policy of taking town to our people,” he said.

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Jonglei county commissioners take oath of office in Bor on December 29, 2011 (ST)

Governor Kuol maintained the commissioner of Bor, Twic East, Pigi, Fangak, Nyirol and Akobo but replaced Pibor, Pochala, Uror, Duk and Ayod.

The local leaders pledged their allegiance to pursue of peace and reconciliation in the state.


17 Southerners ‘killed by Sudan air raids’

Posted: December 29, 2011 by nyanyung in Junub Sudan

29 December 2011 Last updated at 14:11 ET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Sudan says 17 killed in Sudanese air raids

(AFP) – 

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

Khartoum dismissed the allegations as “incorrect.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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