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Local rights group condemns air attacks on Bentiu

April 23,2012 (JUBA) - The South Sudan Human Advocacy Association (SSHURA) became the first human rights group in the country to express its disappointment at the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan over their disputed oil-rich border.

Speaking in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Monday from Malakal, Biel Boutros, executive Director of SSHURA said the association is deeply concerned by the ongoing military activities, particularly the increased aerial bombardments on civilian settlements in Unity State.

“It is a worrying concern for human rights. I think the continued attack on the civilian settlements, particularly in Bentiu town, is no longer just an aggression on the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of South Sudan but it is becoming a clear human rights violation”, Boutros told Sudan Tribune.

He called on the international community including the African Union to intervene swiftly to avert what he believed might result into a possible "full blown war".

Boutros described the current situation as "really dangerous". Two civilians were killed by bombs on Monday, according to the UN, South Sudanese army (SPLA) and Sudan Tribune’s reporter in Bentui.

In retaking Heglig from the SPLA Khartoum has claimed that it killed over 1,000 southern soldiers although this has been denied by Juba who maintain that they pulled out voluntarily.

"There were reports of cross-border military operations, aerial bombardment of oil fields along the two borders. There are also ground attacks and this is creating a very difficult situation for the civilian population which is a gross violation of human rights,” he added.

Jacob Kuot Mayen, another human rights activist called on the international community and AU to intervene to put an end to these human rights violations.

(ST)