August 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Clashes renewed in South Kordofan between the Sudanese army and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) as the two sides accuse each other of starting hostilities.
- SPLA-N soldiers train in the Nuba Mountians, South Kordofan, Sudan, on April 24, 2012. (Getty)
UN Security Council voted a resolution (2046) last May demanding to cease hostilities and to resume talks on humanitarian and political issues.
Earlier in this month, the two parties endorsed a tripartite plan to allowing aid workers to reach civilians in the rebel held area in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
They also held indirect talks on political issues without any tangible result. The discussions are expected to resume next week.
Sudanese army spokesperson, Al-Sawarmi Khalid announced Saturday that government troops repulsed an attack by SPLM-N fighters on the Al-Mouraib area located northeast of South Kordofan on Friday 24 August.
Following this military operation, the army cleared any rebel presence from the Kershola area, including Um Baraka, Al-Farsha and El-Oneinat, he further said.
The military spokesperson added that the rebels carried out a retaliation attack in a bid to take the control Al-Mouraib but the Sudanese forces repelled the assault killing 11 rebels.
Al-Sawarmi was reacting to statements, the SPLM-N made to news agencies saying they repulsed attacks by the government forces on villages near Abu Kershola on Wednesday and Rashad on Thursday.
The rebels said they killed 30 soldiers in Al-Mouraib and accused the Sudan Armed Forces of burning villagers’ homes and properties.
The Sudanese military spokesperson also claimed that the army carried out these attacks because the rebels terrorised civilians on the Abu Jibaihah-Al-Abassiyah road and looted their properties. He also accused the rebel fighters of looting Al-Mouraib’s market, its police station and desecrating the mosque.
The two sides commonly trade accusations of attacks on civilians and human rights abuses.
The rebels have been fighting the Sudan Armed Forces since June last year following Khartoum’s demand to disarm SPLM-N combatants who fought besides the South Sudanese rebels during the two-decade civil war that ended in 2005. As part of the 2005 peace deal South Sudan declared its independence on 9 July 2011.
The conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has pushed over 200,000 civilians to flee into the neighbouring Ethiopia and South Sudan.
After refusing to hold talks with the rebels on the basis of a framework agreement signed on 28 June 2011, Khartoum sent a delegation to Addis Ababa announcing its commitment to the UN resolution.
However, the positions of the two parties remain distant but closely linked to the parallel process between Khartoum and Juba over post-secession issues. Sudan accuses South Sudan of continuing to support its former members.
A security deal between Khartoum and Juba would facilitate, a ceasefire agreement in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, analysts say. President Salva Kiir has also expressed his willingness to support the African Union’s efforts to reach a solution to the conflict.