Khartoum claims killed 400 South Sudanese in Heglig battleBy HANNAH MCNEISH | Monday, April 23 2012 at 09:20
A senior Sudanese official, Nafie Ali Nafie, said on Sunday that 400 Southern troops "and mercenaries" were killed during the days-long standoff.
Such figures are impossible to verify.
Heglig is internationally regarded as part of Sudan, although South Sudan disputes it.
The 10-day occupation by the world's newest nation met widespread criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who called it illegal. Foreign powers have also called for an end to Sudan's cross-border air raids.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Friday announced his forces would carry out "an orderly withdrawal" from Heglig. The SPLA "completed its withdrawal from Heglig yesterday," Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP on Sunday.
But he charged that Khartoum's air force "continued bombing on the night of the (Friday April) 20th and in the morning of the 21st".
On Friday Sudan said its soldiers had "liberated" the oil field by force, despite Kiir's earlier announcement of a pullout.
The South Sudanese UN ambassador Agnes Oswaha said Juba decided to withdraw "because it does not wish to see a return to war."
The Heglig violence was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which about two million people died.
Heglig's entire population fled the standoff, leaving thousands of civilians displaced in the open, the United Nations said on Sunday.
"According to the government of Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and other reports received by the UN, the entire civilian population of Heglig town and neighbouring villages fled," the UN's humanitarian agency said.
The report cited HAC figures saying 5,000 people had escaped from Heglig.
South Sudan's withdrawal followed intense international diplomacy to pull the two sides back from the brink of a wider war.
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