November 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) confirmed Wednesday carrying out air attack on Sudanese rebels in Eastern Darfur region but denied hitting South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el-Gahzal.
- Boy allegedly killed in air raid on Kiir Adem, Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Photo: Deng Garang, The USA Media Team)
SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khaled was reacting to statements made by the spokesperson of South Sudanese army Philip Aguer who accused Khartoum’s warplanes of bombing Adam Kiir, a location in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal not far from Mile 14, a disputed area between the two countries.
According to Aguer, the Sudanese warplanes killed five civilians. Also, a local official Kuol Athuai Hal, Aweil North County Commissioner, echoed reports about alleged movements of Sudanese ground troops in the area.
"We were surprised by the South Sudan’s claims accusing us of attacking a position of their forces within the Bahr-el-Ghazal", he said in statements to official news agency SUNA on Wednesday. He added that these accusations are "a clear recognition" of the South Sudanese support to the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of Sudanese rebel groups.
He further said the SRF "would not have dared to (establish a camp in Alrguibat at 10 kilometers north to the disputed area of Mile 14) without this considerable support it has received from the South Sudan."
Al-Sawarmi reiterated that they attacked SRF rebel positions inside the Sudanese territory stressing that the presence of the South Sudanese army in Alrguibat "represents an aggression and blatant military intervention in our territory".
Sudan and South Sudan signed on 27 September a security deal providing to renounce any resort to war or violence, and to settle peacefully their differences. They also committed themselves, in accordance to the agreement, to stop supporting rebel groups from both sides.
However, Khartoum and Juba failed to implement the deal over issues around the borders between South Sudan and the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North, a leading member of the SRF have been fighting the government since last year.
Talks over Abyei and other disputed areas are still to resume. The African Union mediation is yet to convene the Sudanese government and SPLM-N to resume talks over humanitarian assistance and political issues.