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Sudanese army denies conducting airstrike in Upper Nile state

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November 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has denied South Sudan allegations that its planes bombed a village in the Upper Nile state sheltering Sudanese refugees wounding six civilians.

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Spokesperson for the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad (Photo: Ashraf Ahazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The spokesman for the South Sudanese army (SPLA), Col. Philip Aguer, told the independent Radio Tamazuj that several bombs had been dropped on Wednesday on Maban county’s Kortumbak area in the Upper Nile state, where more than 120,000 refugees from the neighboring Sudanese Blue Nile state have been sheltered.

“It is only Sudan that is capable of using [an] Antonov in the region and there is no doubt about that,” he told Sudan Tribune when asked what evidence existed that neighboring Sudan was responsible for the latest air attack.

Local authorities in Maban county also told Sudan Tribune that two warplanes sighted as coming and returning from the direction of neighboring Sudan around the time of the attack.

Maban county commissioner Tumati Nau said the planes had dropped several bombs, destroying properties and public infrastructure.

“I want to inform that warplanes coming from the direction of Sudan dropped several bombs yesterday (Wednesday), injuring seven civilians and destroying properties in [the] Kortumbak area,” he said.

Last October, the Blue Nile Centre for Human Rights and Peace (BNCHRP) expressed concerns about the security of “130,000 refugees from the Blue Nile” in the Upper Nile state which have witnessed the resumption of hostilities between the South Sudanese government and rebels there.

SAF’s spokesperson, Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, denied these allegations saying “we have not bombed any area in South Sudan’s territory”.

On Wednesday, a new round of talks between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) resumed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The fresh negotiations being held under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) focus on resolving conflict in the troubled Blue Nile and South Kordofan states which lie along the border with South Sudan.

The head of the AUHIP, Thabo Mbeki, called on the two parties to engage in positive and constructive talks, stressing on the “urged imperative” to end war and to ensure a humanitarian access to the conflict affected civilians in the Two Areas.

The Blue Nile and South Kordofan’s conflict erupted months apart from each other in 2011 when Sudan attempted to forcibly disarm SPLM-N fighters it accuses of being backed by their brother-in-arms in the South Sudanese army.

(ST)

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