November 20, 2012 (JUBA) - Warplanes allegedly belonging to the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on Tuesday carried out aerial bombardments, killing at least five civilians in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, the spokesperson for South Sudan’s army (SPLA) said.
- Boy allegedly killed in air raid on Kiir Adem, Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Photo: Deng Garang, The USA Media Team)
Those killed, according to Philip Aguer, were mainly women and children.
“Kiir Adem in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State came under heavy and aggressive aerial bombardments by the Sudanese armed forces today. The SPLA general headquarters received reports this evening from [the] Division III Commander that warplanes from Sudan carried out [an] attack in the area, killing five civilians and wounding the two others,” Aguer told Sudan Tribune by phone.
He, however, said the SPLA is ready to defend the country’s territorial integrity, including the lives of the civilian population and their properties against any foreign aggression. Any form of retaliation from the Southern army, he added, will require approval from the government.
The Sudanese army yesterday said Darfur rebels established a camp in Regaibat area, East Darfur, located 10 kilometres north to the disputed area of Mile 14.
SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khaled said the rebels had imposed tax on civilians and added that the armed forces will not stand idle to the rebel provocations.
Kuol Athuai Hal, the Aweil North County Commissioner confirmed the incident, saying the army also obtained credible information on an alleged ground movement of Sudanese troops in the area.
“They [SAF] have launched earlier attack on the area today and we have also received reliable information that ground troops have started movement towards the area,” the Commissioner told Sudan Tribune by phone from Gok Machar.
Meanwhile, a member of the South Sudanese in parliament, Mel Wal, has strongly condemned the attack, which he said not only violates the 27 September agreement between the two countries, but also contravenes international law on each nation’s sovereignty.
“We condemn this barbaric act by the Sudanese Armed Forces. The bombing and killing of our innocent civil population is unacceptable,” said Mel Wal.
Both Sudan and South Sudan, under the facilitation of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), in September, inked a landmark agreement on several key issues between the two countries.
However, a delay in resumption of South Sudan’s oil production, halted early this year, has raised many concerns from the international community, including the US government. South Sudan, on Sunday, said it has rescheduled resumption of oil exports through Khartoum, until the two nations reach a consensus on security issues.