AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Juba denounces new bombings, but Khartoum promises to stop the raids

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - Tension between Sudan and South Sudan continues after clashes and incursions in past days (see Fides 27/03/2012). South Sudan says that planes from Khartoum bombed the border area again between the two countries. "Panakwach was bombed, a city 35 kilometers from Bentiu", said Gideon Gatpan, minister of information of Southern Sudan. Bentiu is an important oil town in south Sudan not far from the border with Sudan.
Sudan has responded to have regained control of the strategic town of Heglig, occupied by SPLA soldiers, the army of South Sudan. This area, rich in oil, is disputed by the two Countries.
A sign of relaxation seems to come from Khartoum, after the foreign minister said that Sudan does not intend to bomb the new territory of South Sudan and that his Country does not intend to extend the war front.
Both Countries accuse each other of supporting the guerrillas operating in their territories. To defuse the tension a meeting between Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and the southern-Sudan, Salva Kiir was expected this week. Following the clashes, the summit was not held.
Meanwhile the African Union has called on Khartoum and Juba to withdraw their troops to at least 10 km from the border. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 28/3/2012)