February 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Rebels from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) claimed today that a South Sudan militia backed by Khartoum killed at least 17 people in South Kordofan and injured scores more.
- Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) chief Lam Akol (Isam Al-Haj/AFP/Getty Images)
The SPLM-N, which is fighting the Sudanese army in two border states, issued a statement today saying that the incident took place on Friday evening in South Kordofan’s Abujibeiha county.
The rebel group alleged that the assailants belonged to Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), led by Lam Akol. The latter has long been at odds with the government in Juba.
“SPLA-N knows where these militias are deployed and that it would not stand [with] fold[ed] hands on these repeated attacks by these militias protected by the Khartoum regime to destabilise the innocent citizens, looting their money and properties, SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said, adding the group held the Khartoum government responsible for harbouring groups in Sudanese territory to fight on their behalf.”
“This is ridiculous,” Akol told Agence France Presse (AFP) from Khartoum. “We don’t have a militia.” He said the rebels in South Kordofan are “just parroting what their masters in Juba are saying.”
Abujibeiha county’s mayor, Al-Fadil Wanees, gave a different account.
Wanees said South Sudan rebels attacked villagers working in the gum harvest at Abu Nuwara, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border with South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, killing 37 people.
As the rebels were being held, an SPLM-N force intervened and shot both sides, killing nine villagers and 15 South Sudanese rebels.
The mayor added that the Sudan army (SAF) intervened later when things escalated and killed eight SPLM-N fighters, while five Sudanese soldiers were killed and an unspecified number injured.