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SAF attack on Kiir Adem kills three - South Sudan

December 9, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan has claimed that three people were killed on Sunday when the army of neighbouring Sudan carried out a ground attack on the Kiir Adem area of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, according to local MPs and officials.

Kiir Adem was bombed by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) between November 20 and 22 killing seven people, according to the South Sudanese army - the SPLA.

"The Sudanese Armed Forces launched ground attack today on the position of the SPLA forces in Kiir Adem, killing two soldiers and one innocent civilian but they were repulsed", Aweil County Commissioner, Kuol Athuai Hal said on Sunday.

Mel Wal Achien, who represents the area at South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly in Juba told Sudan Tribune that he had "received reports that the Sudanese armed forces have attacked the area today, killing innocent civilian again. It was a ground attack. They came with tanks but the SPLA forces repulsed them."

The alleged ground incursion was "unacceptable", he said.

Achien called on the international community to bear witness and hold Sudan responsible for the aggression and violating the territorial integrity of another sovereign state.

South Sudan split from Sudan last year as part of a 2005 peace deal but other vital aspects of the deal have not been implemented, including demarcating the 1,800km border and resolving security issues.

The two sides almost returned to full scale conflict in April when the SPLA occupied the oil-producting Heglig border area for 10 days. The failure to create an buffer zone on the border and Khartoum’s insistence the Juba still backs its former comrades who are fighting the Sudanese military in South Kordofan and Blue Nile - as well as Darfur rebels groups - has delayed the South resuming pumping its crude for export through the north.

South Sudan was strongly criticised for occupying Heglig, which is known as Panthou south of the border.

"Sudan is continuing with the aggression and the international community is keeping quiet. Will they not speak if our forces retaliate because they have a constitutional responsibility to protect lives and properties from foreign aggression?", asked Achien in an interview with Sudan Tribune.

The chairperson of information and public relations in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State Legislative Assembly, Majang Ngor Kuany, also claimed SAF had attacked SPLA positions inside South Sudan.

Kuany said the attack took place at 5 am but said he could not give figures on how many were killed or injured.

“Some people have been killed. There are also people injured but I do not have full details now. We are still receiving more information from the area”, Kuany told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The SPLA’s deputy spokesperson, Colonel Kella Kueth said the SPLA General headquarters in Bilpam had received reports of the attack from the area division commander on Sunday, but gave no details of those killed as well as those believed to have sustained injuries.