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South Sudan accuses Sudan of carrying out air attack in Upper Nile

June 16, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan has accused neighbouring Sudanese government of carrying out air attacks inside South Sudan at a border area in the oil-rich Upper Nile state on Tuesday.

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A SPLA soldier looks at warplanes as he lies on the ground to take cover beside a road during an air strike by the Sudanese air force in Rubkona near Bentiu April 23, 2012 (Photo Reuters/ Goran Tomasevic)

Upper Nile state officials said warplanes sighted as coming from neighbouring Sudan entered its airspace twice on Sunday and Monday this week in Maban county area, dropping bombs and injuring at least four children, including a woman.

The air attack, according to Upper Nile state minister of information and communications, Peter Hoth Tuach, took place on Sunday in Khor Tumbak, an area at the border with Sudan in Maban county, saying this was a clear “violation” of international law.

“Sudanese warplanes, Antonov, dropped two bombs on Sunday and again on Monday in Khor Tumbak area in Maban county, wounding four children including a woman,” Tuach told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

“This is not the first time the Sudanese warplanes have dropped the bombs in the same area. They have done that before, destroying schools and local health centre,” he said.

Maban county commissioner John Ivo also told Sudan Tribune that the area witnessed two warplanes flying over again on Tuesday and dropped more bombs, calling it “a barbaric act in violation of the international norms and practices.”

South Sudanese army spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer in a statement to the state owned South Sudan television on Monday accused Sudanese army of violating international law by repeatedly entering the airspace of another independent country without permission.

Aguer said the army was capable of defending the country against foreign aggression but added that the military leadership and its general command remained committed to respecting political process and bilateral agreement as a way to addressing security concerns at the common border with neighbouring country.

It remained unclear why this particular area in the border state has continued to be targeted by the Sudanese military.

Maban, which hosts over 130,000 Sudanese refugees, was bombed several times in 2014 by the Sudanese army, as Khartoum accuses the south Sudanese army of supporting the rebel Sudan people’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N).

The Sudanese army recently intensified attacks on the positions of the rebel SPLM-N, which controls some areas near the Upper Nile state.

Sudan and South Sudan have been trading accusations about the activities of their respective rebel groups at the border.

Last April, Sudanese government troops ambushed in a remote area in South Darfur near the border western the fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who reportedly crossed from the South Sudan Western Bahr el-Ghazal.