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[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): S.Sudan accuses Sudan of new attacks, Khartoum denies it

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2012 22:08:56 +0200

S.Sudan accuses Sudan of new attacks, Khartoum denies it

Sun Apr 1, 2012 2:23pm GMT

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, April 1 (Reuters) - South Sudan on Sunday accused Sudan of
bombing the oil-producing area straddling the two countries' borders as
talks aimed at ending the worst hostilities since Juba declared its
independence were delayed.

Sudan's army denied the accusations, however, saying no military operation
had been conducted on Sunday following a series of clashes between the two
armies in the contested border region in recent days.

"The government of Sudan attacked Manga today at two in the morning," Pagan
Amum, head of South Sudan's negotiating team, told reporters in Addis Ababa
where the African Union is trying to restart talks between the neighbours.

"Panakuach, also in Unity State, has been subjected to aerial bombardment
today, including attacks by helicopter gunship," he said. "As we speak,
Sudan is bombing South Sudan."

Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad denied the allegation. "There is
no military operation today," he said.

The United Nations and the United States fear the clashes could escalate and
re-ignite a civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the South where
most adhere to Christian and animist beliefs.

South Sudan became independent from Khartoum under a 2005 peace agreement
that ended decades of civil war that killed two million people.

Both sides were supposed to resume talks this weekend but African Union
officials said key members of Sudan's delegation such as its defence
minister and the chief-of-staff of its army had not yet arrived.

The two officials were expected in Addis Ababa "tonight or tomorrow
morning," a member of Sudan's delegation told Reuters.

"The government of Sudan did not send the leader of their team. It is now
clear that they have different intentions," said Amum, the head of Juba's

As well as agreeing a halt to further hostilities, the two sides need to
decide how much the landlocked South must pay to export its crude oil
through Sudan. Juba has shut down its entire oil production to stop Khartoum
taking oil as compensation for what it calls unpaid transit fees.

Both countries have yet to mark the 1,800 km (1,200 mile) long border, much
of which is disputed, or found a solution to the disputed border region of
Abyei. Both sides also continue to accuse one another of supporting rebels
on each other's territory. (Additional reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz;
Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved


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