July 24, 2012 (JUBA) - A United Nations (UN) report has confirmed that six bombs, which Sudan claimed were aimed at rebels within its own territory, landed in South Sudan, the Associated Press reported.
- A Sudanese army Antonov plane (Amnesty International)
Details of the incident are reportedly contained in
internal UN report it had allegedly obtained. A team of UN observers,
according to report, visited the site and found six bomb craters 1.16
kilometres inside South Sudan’s territory.
At least one man who was said to have been wounded by the bombing reportedly died later.
South Sudan last week announced it was pulling out of talks with Sudan on the outstanding post-secession issues, after it accused the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of aerially bombarding its border territories. Juba also filed a complaint to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the UN Security Council (UNSC) accusing Khartoum of bombarding three locations in Northern Bhar el-Ghazal (NBEG) which borders South Darfur state.
Khartoum dismissed the accusations, saying that the Sudanese army
dealt with a convoy of 105 arms laden vehicles belonging to the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM) when they crossed into Sudanese territories from South Sudan. It further accused Juba of violating the provisions of the UNSC resolution on cessation of support of rebels.
However, JEM in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, vigorously
denied launching a ground attack on South Darfur State from South
Sudan, pointing out that such “false accusations” aim to cover up
fresh air strikes carried out in South Sudan’s NBEG.
“The accusations directed against JEM aim to cover up the aerial
bombardment carried by the Sudanese army on the South Sudanese
territory in violation of a UN resolution” said Ahmed Hussein Adam,
JEM secretary for foreign affairs.
Ahmed further stressed that Sudan’s defense minister and head of its
negotiating team Abdel-Rahim Hussein “should be held accountable of this aggression”.
After the bombing allegations, the African Union, which is overseeing the Sudan-South Sudan negotiations, said it would investigate the incident, which is widely seen as a setback to the efforts by both country’s to resolve their outstanding issues before the 2 August deadline.
Meanwhile, the UN team reportedly said the six bombs created small
craters where they came down in NBEG early on Friday.
“The craters are almost in one line, possibly indicating a bombing run
by an aircraft. Bomb fragments and debris was visible in and around
the craters. The smell of ‘gunpowder’ was also evident,” Associated Press quotes from the UN report.
Phillip Aguer, the South Sudanese army (SPLA) spokesman told Sudan
Tribune on Wednesday that the Sudanese military dropped eight bombs from Antonov planes, a revelation that sharply contradicts the UN
observer’s assessment report.
A report from the SPLA commander in the area, according to Aguer,
indicates that two people, a man and woman were injured in the
He however described Khartoum’s action as a “hostile and provocative”
aggression, which happened when the SPLA least expected, given the
ongoing negotiations on outstanding issues in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
between the two countries.
“We are not surprised by this action from SAF. This is the characteristic behavior of Khartoum and we are glad that an independent team has come in to verify our position,” the SPLA spokesman said in reference to the internal UN observer’s report.
Aguer said the ill intentions of some elements, allegedly from within
the Sudanese army’s general headquarters to “derail” the peace process, will not help Khartoum and its people in attaining sustainable peace and stability.