By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
April 23, 2012 (BENTIU) - The bombing of Unity State killing at least two people on Monday morning has been described as a declaration of war by South Sudan’s military spokesperson Philip Aguer.
- Rubkotna Market in Unity State, South Sudan after it was bombed by the Sudanese air force, 23 April 2012 (ST)
South Sudanese government officials in Unity State accuse Sudan of ignoring the recent calls by the international community to end the border conflict between the two nations, by attacking two towns in Unity State killing two and injuring six people.
Sudan Tribune’s reporter in Bentui says he saw the burnt dead body of a boy who had been shopping in Rubkotna market when a bomb landed in the area. He also witnessed the body of another apparent bombing victim at Bentiu Hospital.
South Sudan’s army and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have also reported that two people were killed in the air strike.
Sudan has denied the bombing. On Monday Sudan’s ambassador to the UN Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said: "Let me make it clear: we will not cross the international border and attack the south... inside their territories".
Osman said his country had the right to defend itself from South Sudan’s "aggression". "We have been targeted by... the South. We have every right to militarily repel that attack and aggression," the ambassador told the BBC.
The bombing is the latest act in a border war between the two countries that has escalated since South Sudan occupied the disputed Heglig area for 10 days before withdrawing on Friday.
South Sudan insists that it withdrew voluntarily but Sudan says that it inflicted a heavy defeat on the southern army (SPLA), forcing them to retreat.
Three MiG fighters from the Sudanese air force attacked Unity State capital Bentui and nearby Rubkotna town on Monday morning, according to Sudan Tribune’s reporter in Bentui.
Peter Ruai Gatuor, who witnessed the Rubkotna Market bombing said that a ten year boy and a trader were killed with four more seriously injured.
He accused Sudan of "targeting we the innocent civilians leaving the army who fight them in [the] front line."
Gatuor called on the international community to intervene to stop attacks on civilians in Unity State.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the his representative in South Sudan have both called on Sudan to cease its bombing campaign.
A UN report covering April 13-19 said that "clashes and/or bombardments were reported in all five border states between South Sudan and Sudan, as hostilities continued between the two countries".
The commissioner for Abiemnom County, Ajang Gidi, told Sudan Tribune on Monday that the Sudanese air force had also dropped several bombs in his area of Unity State. He reported that there were no causalities.
While visiting the areas that had been bombed near Bentiu, the speaker of Unity State’s Legislative Assembly Simon Maguek Gai, said that the international community had to do more to pressure Khartoum to stop the bombing.
He warned that if Sudan’s army continued to attack South Sudan they would be forced to respond in order to "defend ourselves".
Listen to the full interview with the speaker of Unity State’s Legislative Assembly Simon Maguek Gai below.
Al Jazeera English | South Sudan says Sudan has declared war | 24 April 2012