AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Southern Sudan denounces military raids from the north on its territory

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - There is growing tension between North and South Sudan: the latter accuses Khartoum's troops of having crossed the frontier on its territory to hunt down the rebels operating in the border regions between the two States. According to the newspaper "Sudan Tribune", troops of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF, the Army of Khartoum) briefly occupied the town of Jaw, in the State of the Union. The military in Khartoum were hunting for members of the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), the guerrilla group active in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (states belonging to Sudan which are on the border with South Sudan). The southern Sudanese troops engaged with the military from the north in clashes between 3 and 4 December, forcing the soldiers to leave the area of Khartoum.
Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, on the borders of Sudan with South Sudan, home to ethnic groups that fought alongside southern Sudan during the civil war ended in 2005 with a peace agreement that paved the way for the independence of the south, sanctioned in July this year.
Previously, the Minister of Information of the Upper Nile had declared to the Catholic Bakhita Radio that the SAF military had attacked the village of Danda on the morning of December 1. The attackers were repelled by the south Sudanese military. The Minister pointed out that it was the first time the government of Khartoum led an attack with its military instead of using irregular allied militias. The Minister added that Sudan could try to annex some areas rich in oil, disputed by the two countries before their border is marked permanently.
The tension is heightened by the threat of Khartoum to prevent the export of oil in south Sudan through its ports (crude oil is in fact sent by pipeline to Port Sudan before being loaded onto tankers). The intervention of China (the main buyer of Sudan's oil) has so far prevented the application of this measure. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 05/12/2011)

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