Home | News    Wednesday 25 April 2012

Sudan keeps bombing South, SPLA fears attack on Bentiu


April 24, 2012 (LONDON) - Sudan resumed its bombing of South Sudan’s Unity State on Tuesday, the military claimed, a day after two people were killed when bombs landed near the state’s capital Bentiu.

JPEG - 32.5 kb
Sudanese military soldiers flash victory signs and brandish their weapons during the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Heglig, April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

In statements indicative of the current tensions and military build up on either side of the border, a South Sudanese intelligence officer has expressed fears that the Sudanese army may try and attack Bentiu.

Bentiu, where some of the bombs landed on Monday, lies at least 60 kilometres (40 kilometres) from the border with North Sudan.

During his current visit to China - a large investor in the oil industries of both nations - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir said that the latest fighting amounted to a declaration of a war by the Sudanese government.

Fears are growing that the two sides could return to a full-scale international conflict over their disputed oil-rich border that was not demarcated before South Sudan seceded last year.

South Sudan’s army (SPLA) spokesperson, Philip Aguer, told Reuters that Sudanese Antonov aircraft had dropped bombs 40 km (25 miles) inside his country in the areas of Teschween, Panakuach and Roliaq on Tuesday.

Unity State’s governor, Taban Deng Gai, said that some of the bombs had landed on Lalop market and Panakuach. Monday’s bombs also hit a market at Rubkotna leading to southern claims that Sudan’s air force was deliberately targeting civilians.

Despite being condemned for the bombing by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Khartoum continues to deny responsibility for any air attacks over South Sudan. 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".

Sudan Tribune’s reporter in Bentui witnessed three MiG 29 fighter jets attacking the area on Monday. International journalists from the BBC, Reuters, AFP and others have all witnessed planes dropping bombs on Unity State since Monday.

SPLA soldiers have tried to fire back at the planes but without an air force South Sudan is at a severe military disadvantage. South Sudan appears to have suffered a large military defeat in Heglig - a disputed oil-producing area - over the weekend with an AFP reporter there saying the number of SPLA soldiers lying dead on the ground was "uncountable".

With the war rhetoric - especially on the side of Khartoum - and propaganda machines in full swing it is hard to know which figures given by the two sides, if any, are true.

"The numbers of killed from SPLM are 1,200," AFP reported Sudan’s military commander in Heglig, Kamal Marouf, as saying. Juba has denied it lost any soldiers during its retreat from Heglig and maintains the withdrawal was voluntary in order to comply with international demands.

Sudan has not given a figure for how many SAF troops died in the retake of Heglig, which the SPLA managed to hold for 10 days. During the SPLA’s occupation of Heglig the military said that it had lost 19 soldiers but had killed 240 Sudanese troops.

However, there are indications from SPLA soldiers that the figures of deaths from their ranks may be higher than top officials are willing to admit. On Tuesday the BBC’s correspondent in Bentui said that one soldier had remarked to him that: "A lot of people are dying". And during the SPLA occupation of Heglig from April 10-20 an SPLA soldier told AFP in Bentiu that it was impossible to bury the dead or bring them back as: "There are so many bodies at the front line, so many dead".

South Sudan’s ruling SPLM has expressed frustration that after it complied with demands to move out of Heglig, the international community has not taken more action against Khartoum’s subsequent attacks.

"We were asked to withdraw from Heglig: we did. They have been asked to stop the aerial bombardment and incursions into South Sudan: they have not done so," Unity State governor Taban Deng told AFP. The governor said that wounded soldiers and farmers had been taken to to Bentiu hospital.

Despite the border being quiet "with the exception of aerial bombardment", according to Deng, South Sudan says it fears SAF is planning to push deep in Unity State and try and take control of Bentiu town.

South Sudan’s deputy director of military intelligence, Mac Paul, said his sources indicated that "the Sudanese army is mobilising for a push on Bentiu". The claim could not be confirmed.

Rebel group the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), which Juba describes as Khartoum-backed mercenaries, threatened to attack Bentiu earlier this week. South Sudan claims that the SSLA acted with SAF in cross-border raids over the weekend.

Khartoum denies working with or supporting rebellions in South Sudan.

On Monday the SSLA claimed that they captured Lalop garrison in Unity State from the army on Sunday and that their forces would march on Bentiu and "liberate" the area within days. This is not the first time the SSLA have made such claims and previously no such assault on Bentiu has materialised.

A recent report from the Small Arms Survey found evidence that both Juba and Khartoum were backing rebellions in other’s territory.

Khartoum accuses Juba of aiding anti-government rebellions in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile where there have been reports of increased insecurity as the border conflict intensified over the last few weeks.

Both sides are reported to be amassing troops and artillery near the border and have launched mobilisation campaigns to recruit young men into the army and paramilitaries.

In Heglig AFP reporters witnessed crates of military materiel and pickup trucks ’crammed with ammunition, rifles, shovels, and mounted rocket propelled grenade launchers’ belonging to the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) Khartoum’s main paramilitary group.


The bombings, military build up and increasing tensions have triggered an exodus of foreign businessmen and investors from Unity State. On Tuesday more than 20 foreign traders from neighbouring Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Congo-Kinshasa boarded buses heading southwards away from the border to the country’s capital Juba, Sudan Tribune’s reporter in the area said.

JPEG - 3 Mb
Foreign traders fleeing from bombing in Unity State heading to Juba, 24 April 2012 (ST)

Many East African’s have migrated to South Sudan since the 2005 peace deal which ended the previous north-south civil war, with more arriving after independence in July last year looking for work or to sell imported goods.

On Tuesday 13 traders from Democratic Republic of Congo left Bentiu town citing the recent bombings as their reason. Unity State officials say that two people died and six were wounded in the Monday bombings.

Wazekwa Balopoi, a Congolese national, told Sudan Tribune that he had been working in Bentiu selling clothes and necklaces but, fearing that the Sudan Armed Forces were attacking civilians, he has bought a bus ticket out of town.

Another foreign trader Peninah Akello, a Kenyan national, said she will take the risk to stay in Unity State despite the continued bombardment.

"One can decide to go or one can decide to stay, I might be terrified but I still have the feeling to stay behind", she said, hoping that the conflict would end in due course.

South Sudan’s government says it is willing to return to peace negotiations but Sudan’s president Omer Hassan Bashir made it clear, while visiting Heglig on Monday, that he ruled out peace with South Sudan government, while the SPLM were still in power. Last week he described South Sudan’s leaders as "insects" that must be crushed and taught a lesson.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 25 April 2012 07:40, by Kim Deng


    They all look arabized Nubians to me. Shame on them!!!!!

    repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 07:43, by Dinkawarrior

      The Eviler Bashit of Sudan and the Satan one have one in common, both were indicted for crimes! Their differences are that Mr. Bashir eats, drinks, and shits too much. Bashit is wanted by the world’s highest court if found he will be severely punishable like Gadhafi and Saddam! While Satan one couldn’t be seen with naked eyes even though it’s in hell, its followers are still operating on earth to

      repondre message

      • 25 April 2012 07:44, by Dinkawarrior

        While Satan one couldn’t be seen with naked eyes even though it’s in hell, its followers are still operating on earth to mislead the world but at the great Day of Judgment they will be brought to justice according the Bible.

        repondre message

        • 25 April 2012 07:45, by Dinkawarrior

          While Satan one couldn’t be seen with naked eyes even though it’s in hell, its followers are still operating on earth to mislead the world but at the great Day of Judgment they will be brought to justice according to the Bible.

          repondre message

      • 25 April 2012 14:22, by Chol

        That’s just funny, the notion that somehow SPLA fear attack is a joke and ludicrous! It’s just the opposite.

        Just because you post for the cameras for propaganda purpose doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to scare anyone! Get over it!

        repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 07:54, by Joseph Makuer

      You’re right, those are our brothers been bought to kills us.

      repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 08:23, by Robot

      AFP is another bought media.

      repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 10:32, by Makuei

      Bashiit is a pig which will never succeed,

      See here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=boFrV5zynWA

      repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 13:53, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      The govt of south sudan should open their eyes wider to SPLA -DC,Lam Akol is Mr Fox,see these SAF supporters soldiers all look like SPLA -DC.


      repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 09:08, by E. Defense Forces
    • 25 April 2012 10:32, by hellonearth

      wow what a military the SAF has and it will be very beautiful to defeat them. i cant wait to see Bashits face when that job is done. SPLA Oyee
      we will defeat the disease that fake Arabs carry with them because they are a disease them selves

      repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 09:58, by Gatjiek Anti-Arabs

    SPLA was betrayed since it was a rebel group fighting for the nobel pride of S. Sudan, but it never bowed to Khartoum. Those betrayers are now stuck in Khartoum as Southerners because they can’t be accepted in the Arab societies since they’re black as yourself. So, let them idiot destroy what they can but the SPLA will catch up with them anytime.

    repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 10:17, by hellonearth

    well go on attack, give us a reason to exterminate the fake arabs. your hour glass is almost up. Jalaby, Oshay, Northern Sudan and likes please be ready for whats coming to you. as we know now the UN, AU and EU and the rest of the world are with you believe me God is on our side. i hate you all

    repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 10:25, by Waucity

    Desperate Bashir, why don’t Juba release one of its Helicapters, and Bomb them too. Shame on arabs, arguing with people when the can’t even stand on their feets..SOUTHERN Sudan is not desperate, we will make sure that you go back to living at the back of the camels..No wonder you left arabia, useless people who can’t contribute anything to the society.

    repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 11:42, by Lasu lo Denis

    shame on those nuba brothers who refuse to fight along with their brothers who are going to topple the Bashir NCP terrorist government. How can you kill your fellow brother for the sake of piece of bread given you by Baboon Bahir. I urge you to join your brothers in blue nile , southern kordofan and Dafur to topple this Jalaba terrorist regime.

    repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 12:47, by Darkangel








      repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 13:30, by wad balad

    SPLM made a big mistake by attacking our oil fields in Higlieg. Its intensions were to hurt Sudan, its people and economy and now we will respond in kind. SPLM chose this path with its own actions and we will drive them to the end at all cost.

    repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 13:40, by Loko El Pollo


      repondre message

      • 25 April 2012 14:06, by mohammed ali

        POLO, stay tuned! Now , Aguer is crying & screeming!The SPLA thief’s are the most hated party in SS! Pple in SS donnot want them.Thr internal fighting for the presidency will intensify as the dconomical conditions deteriorates further.The thief’s will run away to where their money is!

        repondre message

        • 25 April 2012 14:11, by mohammed ali

          Plio, there is nothing called national SS Army. SPLA is a colation of different millitia.It is disorganised, undiciplined, untrained groups of millitias with multiple loyalities. There is Salva group , mainly from Dinka, Machar groups mainly Neuer and Equatorian groups which rather diciplined. Each group has multiple loyality within the tribe.No national Army!

          repondre message

        • 25 April 2012 16:48, by Loko El Pollo


          repondre message

        • 25 April 2012 17:16, by Agutran

          Mohammed Ali, you guys are still living in the past, this is not 1990s, it’s a different period, just wake up and look around, this is the year 2012. Good luck with your dream.

          repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 14:58, by Eastern

    Unless SPLA has FIM-92 Stinger they should not waste their valuable bullets. The ’arabs’ are creeping towards Bentiu. Let every single bullet be used wisely - remember South Sudan does not manufacture bullets. The antedote to this jallaba nuisance in MANPADS, notably FIM-92 Stinger. There are a few in ’wrong’ hands. SPLA do your shopping!!!

    repondre message

  • 25 April 2012 15:00, by Peace n Positivity People of Sudan

    Salam, Common people ..We are one we share the same language same history the same land needs and pain. Dont let the ncp and spla destroy us for thier greed. dont follow thier ways. remove the cancer so the body can live. life is short. they are two faces of the same coin.

    repondre message

    • 25 April 2012 22:09, by Anynya One

      Thanks for such a coragious advice! Education is the reason behind this war, not only that, world leaders are to blame, becouse they hold the power, which is the money... buys human instinct turns them in to sacrifices offered on their behalf for their sin. Therefore, life becomes meaningless especially when insects or monkeys. We hope young ones will understand better in the near future.

      repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

South Sudan needs citizens’ participation in politics 2019-09-14 18:11:41 By Biong Deng Biong On the 4th December 2012, Isaiah Abraham was tragically gunned down in cold blood outside his residence in the South Sudan capital, Juba. The gunman was apparently ‘unknown’. (...)

Has Thomas Cirilo realize the importance of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? 2019-09-09 13:29:06 By Clement Maring Samuel When I read a tripartite agreement signed by Gen. Thomas Cirilo; Gen. Pagan Amum Okiech; and Gen. Paul Malong Awan who represented their parties of SSNDA; R-SPLM, and (...)

President Kiir: The Nelson Mandela of South Sudan? 2019-09-09 12:44:31 By Biong Deng Biong There is no reservation that Nelson Mandela was a great leader, but how does President Kiir fair? More often, we focus on the negative performance of leaders while forgetting (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.