Sudan bombs UN base in South’s Unity stateBy MACHEL AMOS in Juba and AGENCIES | Monday, April 16 2012 at 17:50
A Sudan war plane bombed South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state last night, hitting a UN mission’s camp as aerial raids escalate in the expanding border row, officials said.
Ground fighting between the two armies had temporarily ceased on Monday, with the southern army claiming control of Kuek military base in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, which it retook from Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) late Sunday.
SAF attacked Kuek Sunday morning and held it briefly before they were flushed out by the southern troops.
No confrontation was reported in Heglig despite SAF’s previous threats to attack the area and dispel southern troops which now control the oil-rich town.
But the Associated Press reported southern army spokesman Philip Aguer as confirming two Sudanese warplanes dropped "many bombs" Monday on Heglig, as long-range artillery targeted southern army positions in the disputed town. He did not give a casualty figure.
In the fresh air raids in Unity state, the bombs landed on a UN mission support camp in Mayom County, a UN press officer, Josephine Guerrero, said.
“There were no UN casualties …[but] the radio room was damaged,” Guerrero said.
“It happened at about 19:30 last night. Reportedly, there were five that were dropped in Mayom town and two to hit the mission’s county support base.”
Unity state’s information minister Gideon Gatpan said at least seven were killed in the bombing.
The deadly hostilities have raged for nearly a week since the two sides clashed last Tuesday resulting into southern troops taking over the border town of Heglig, where Sudan was producing about half of her crude oil output since July.
The southern troops halted oil production, starving Khartoum of the cash it badly needs to sustain its economy.
There are concerns that the border skirmishes and continued aerial raids could spring into an all-out war between the former foes.
Some analysts believe the current round of hostilities will take its full course before the north and the south can consider coming to the negotiating table, if at all.
While Khartoum is mobilizing youths to “fight for national pride”, young men voluntarily turned up for registration in the offices of South Sudan ruling party’s Youth League in Juba to take part in a looming war.
However, South Sudan government said it was ready to go to the negotiation table to resolve the crisis with Sudan through dialogue.
Khartoum has rejected the offer, saying it can only accept dialogue when southern troops have pulled out from Heglig – a condition South Sudan President Salva Kiir has refused to accept.
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