Home | News    Saturday 12 November 2011

Sudan denies its citizens taking refuge in south, US says bombing denial ‘blatant lie’

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November 11, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – Sudan went on the defense a day after reports of an aerial bombardment conducted by its air force on a refugee camp inside the borders of South Sudan which drew strong rebuke from the White House and rights groups.

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Susan Rice, US Ambassador to UNited Nations speaks to reporters at UN Headquarters after the Security Council met to discuss the situation in Sudan Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 (AP)

The assault, which took place on Thursday by Antonov bombers, targeted Yida refugee camp in South Sudan’s Unity state, which houses thousands of civilians who escaped the fighting in South Kordofan between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

South Sudan officials claimed twelve people were killed and seriously injured 20 others. However, aid groups on the ground denied any casualties although they confirmed the bombings.

Senior United Nations officials today including Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Hilde Johnson confirmed the incident in their briefings to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Ladsous said that at least two bombs were dropped near the camp, while Johnson reported two bombs fell inside the camp and three outside. Neither of the two UN officials gave any casualty figures.

The UN peacekeeping chief warned of further escalation in the region.

“It is absolutely imperative that both governments take the necessary steps to de-escalate the situation, ensure that civilian lives are protected, and resume peaceful dialogue,” Ladsous said.

The Sudanese UN ambassador, Dafalla Haj Osman vehemently denied that SAF carried out any bombings inside their southern neighbour’s territories.

"There is no aerial bombardment; we did not exercise any kind of military activity outside our borders," he told reporters following the UNSC session on Sudan.

Asked about confirmation from the BBC and Reuters correspondents at the scene, the Sudanese envoy suggested that the two are ’biased media’ outlets that are favouring rebels.

The Sudanese diplomat criticised the UNMISS chief saying he had hoped that she would be impartial in her report to the UNSC and reflecting on her role as a mediator during the North-South peace talks which led to the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

He described Johnson’s remarks today as someone who is an attorney working on behalf of South Sudan.

Osman reiterated accusations that the South Sudanese government is providing support to SPLM-N fighters in South Kordofan, as well as Blue Nile state where the SAF is battling the rebels.

He referred to the Kauda alliance signed between SPLM-N and Darfur rebels, inked this year with the stated goal of toppling the regime in Khartoum. The latter has accused South Sudan of helping in bringing the parties together.

South Sudan’s acting UN representative, David Buom Choat, rejected the allegations.

“We have not supported anybody that is fighting Sudan,” Choat said. “But it has been the attitude of the Republic of Sudan to always blame others for their own problems.”

This week South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, slammed his northern counterpart, Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s public threat of war against his country in retaliation to support he said the new nation is providing to SPLM-N rebels battling Khartoum.

The US ambassador at the UN, Susan Rice, dismissed Osman’s assertions.

“This is not the only such bombing in recent days, but it is incontrovertible. And the fact that the representative of the government of Sudan came to the Council and blatantly lied is quite disturbing to the United States and to many other members of the Security Council,” Rice said.

“This is a moment where both sides need to show maximum restraint. In the first instance, the government of Sudan needs to halt all offensive actions against the south immediately and the south needs to have the wisdom and restraint not to take the bait and not to respond in kind,” she added.

She also suggested that the UNSC will be scrutinising the recent developments.

“We will be talking about ways that, as a Council, collectively and individually as member states, we might prevail on the parties to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table and resolve the critical issues that divide them that can only be addressed through negotiations,” the US official said.

Washington is drafting a UNSC statement condemning the bombing, which it hopes the 15-nation body will adopt on Tuesday in New York, council diplomats told Reuters. It is not clear of the draft directly blames Khartoum for the attack.

In Khartoum the Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson, Al-Obaid Marawih said that no refugee camps exist in South Sudan for Sudanese citizens.

Marawih said there are actually gatherings or camps of rebels which could easily be confirmed by the UN Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

South Sudan seceded from the north in July after a referendum held last January showed an overwhelming majority of Southerners favouring their own state.

Despite early optimism on cordial relations between the two neighbours, hopes were dashed when Khartoum and Juba exchanged accusations over support to rebel groups on both sides of the borders.

The two countries are still in negotiations on a wide array of post-secession issues such as borders, Abyei, oil, national debt that were supposed to have been concluded prior to the breakup.

Meanwhile, the top officials in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for an investigation into the attack saying it could amount to a war crime.

“There needs to be an independent, thorough and credible investigation to establish the precise circumstances of this aerial bombing,” said OHCHR head Navi Pillay.

“If indeed it is established that an international crime or serious human rights violation has been committed, then those responsible should be brought to justice,” Pillay added.

(ST)

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  • 12 November 2011 11:22, by mohammed ali

    It is funny that Susan Rice is talking about lies! What about the WMD in Iraq and the mobile rocket launchers, was that true or did we find any WMD in Iraq? Nevertheless more than 1.5 million life were lost and Iraq was destroyed to the stone age. What about the drones killing tens of children now and the in Pakistan and Afganistan..cont

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    • 12 November 2011 11:31, by mohammed ali

      ..oh, this is just a "collateral damage". What about the Shifa Pharmathutical Factory in Khartoum which was claimed to be a chemical weapon factory and all the world know that it was " blatent lie" I donnot need to talk about Vietnam or elsewhere , but the USA is the last country to talk about lies!

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      • 12 November 2011 13:27, by akid malual

        the war i sudan it seen an over but multi of interest and manipulat Crime against the the inncent people. Khartoum crime against human right voilention.
        akid

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    • 12 November 2011 14:59, by SSLA supporter

      I doubt the integrity of this claim by the SPLA/M mafia; anyway any tit-for-tat action taken by Sudan government against RoSS now has to be fully blamed on the SPLA/M hostile policies and its support for the Sudanese rebel that is fighting the SPLA/M mafia’s proxy war with Sudan. I pity the poor people of RoSS who are being taken as hostages by SPLA/M mafia irresponsible polices, Sad isn’t?

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  • 12 November 2011 15:33, by Rancol

    The NCP government needs to stop lying at this level. How can you lie about something which is confirmable? These officials must understand that days are gone where they can defend lies. Someone needs to tell them that there are satellites and Google for anybody to confirm especially things like these. Please come up with another lie to defend this indefensible position. Keep up the lies.

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  • 12 November 2011 17:07, by Proudfoot

    What is the point of this strong rhetoric? I am full aware of the gravity that this situation bears upon each one of your lives, so I ask: "Why do you sit and throw harsh words at one another?" Would not your time be better spent by working together for the good of the people?

    For SSLA:
    Do you not think that the people of South Sudan have seen enough conflict? Taking up arms once again will cont

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  • 12 November 2011 17:08, by Proudfoot

    only lead to another greedy man in power. Do something good for your country and lead them through your words.

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    • 12 November 2011 17:40, by SSLA supporter

      Proudfoot

      I am neither encouraging nor inciting any war between our Republic of Sudan and RoSS. What I am simply saying here is that let us not quickly point the fingers of blame to Sudan for this retaliatory strike of SPLA/M military or rebel bases inside RoSS.

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      • 12 November 2011 17:53, by SSLA supporter

        cont..

        Also let the SPLA/M and the Sudanese rebel be held accountable for this strike as I believe its perpetrated by its hostile policies towards Sudan! and who can verify authenticity of this claim which maybe a fabrication by the SPLA/M or rebel to blackmail Sudan reputation in the international community specially the USA!! who knows maybe the claim is maliciously motivated!!

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  • 13 November 2011 01:24, by Proudfoot

    SSLA,

    Blame Sudan? This attack has been confirmed by international observers, including members of humanitarian organizations and the UN. The Republic of Sudan is the only nation even available of suspect in that area of the country, unless you wish to suggest that RoSS is bombing its own citizens now as well. Yida is a refugee camp with in excess of 20,000 refugees. Are you suggesting that cont

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  • 13 November 2011 01:26, by Proudfoot

    all of these men, women, and children are in a great conspiracy of the SPLA/M? That is a preposterous assumption. While SPLM is far from perfect, it is not yet at that level of corruption, and doubtfully would have the resources to pull off such a feat. And for what purpose? To instigate new attacks when the nation has barely had time to even begin the construction of infrastructure? Kiir is not

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  • 13 November 2011 01:28, by Proudfoot

    that empty a man.

    You do not believe the proof you have seen? I have seen video of the bombs on the ground from individuals of humanitarian organizations. There are fires, holes from the impact, etc. What more proof could you expect but to be there to witness the explosions yourself?

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    • 13 November 2011 04:04, by SSLA supporter

      proudfoot

      I didn’t say anyhting ridiculous as far as the common sense is concerned but if there is anything laughable at all here it could be the part of your comment that says "unless you want to suggest that SPLA/M bombed its own people" which a confirmatory to what has been said by Sudan government that it has no refugee in RoSS.

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      • 13 November 2011 04:31, by SSLA supporter

        If you are one of the SPLA/M, please advise Kiir and his SPLA/M mafia to abstain from wasting the badly needed public fund of RoSS fighting its losing froxy wars with the Republic of Sudan,looting its poor and starving people of RoSS! in short, advise the mafia to stop hostility and corruption and focus only on the development and nation building, just like Al Bashir and his NCP of Sudan!

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  • 13 November 2011 07:34, by Proudfoot

    SSLA Supporter:

    So you simply believe anything that the Republic of Sudan will tell you? I rarely believe either government simply upon their own word, but instead prefer to hear it from the mouths of the people experiencing it themselves on sight. There are several videos online of this very thing, in which international humanitarian aid workers show the refugee camp and the recent bombs.

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  • 13 November 2011 07:38, by Proudfoot

    I also resent the fact that you are attempting to make me your enemy. I have no quarrel with any man, and do not appreciate being given any label. I am attempting to being a level head into an argument that is obviously riddled with overly biased opinions. Bring logical and factual conversation, or be reduced to a pawn in a larger game. I too believe that RoSS should concentrate solely on the

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  • 13 November 2011 07:39, by Proudfoot

    betterment of its people, but how can progress ever be made when rebel groups rise up against the government in arms? Organizations such as the SSLA are forcing government funds to be allocated towards the military, rather than the very nation building that you suggest. If the SSLA wants to be a sustained movement that has the capacity to make an actual impact it should engage in educated and

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  • 13 November 2011 07:41, by Proudfoot

    progressive dialect with the countries leaders. Rather than killing your own brothers you should be devoting yourself to their betterment. Democracy, which I assume you desire, is built by the people for the people. If you and your brothers are dedicated to the demolition of the government rather than being an influential and respectable force, then RoSS will never have hope.

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