Troops target South Sudan civilians as fighting escalatesBy MACHEL AMOS in Juba | Thursday, April 12 2012 at 18:07
The Sudanese army has staged a deadly hunt for South Sudanese in retaliation for the seizure of the border town of Heglig by the latter's troops, officials said Thursday.
In Senar State, the victims were being asked to move out of their huts and dragged to the streets as part of chasing them back to South Sudan.
“If you delay to move out, then they burn you inside,” Mr Daniel Gatbiel, a security Advisor in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, told a USAid-sponsored radio.
“Some of them have reached the border. Around 370 have arrived in our territory,” he said.
The victims in Senar have confirmed the brutality.
“We are running. They have burnt some people already. We are fearing for our lives,” a woman, who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons, said.
The broadcast had a significant level of noise in the background with voices of children crying.
Mr Gatbiel said he had received reports from the victims that three children were burnt in houses.
“This is very serious, very worse (sic) and also very shocking,” he said.
South Sudan troops were in control of Heglig after seizing it days ago.
President Salva Kiir said Thursday the forces would not withdraw from the contested town.
Both sides appeared determined to escalate the fighting, despite calls by AU and the UN for immediate cessation of hostilities.
Sudanese authorities reportedly said they would stage an offensive on the SPLA in Heglig in a bid to reclaim the oil-rich territory.
South Sudan says Heglig was its own according to the 1956 colonial maps.
But Sudanese authorities say a 2009 ruling by international court in The Hague guaranteed their ownership, a claim Juba has denied, saying the ruling was on Abyei, but not north-south borders.
Aerial bombardment inside South Sudan continued Thursday in Unity State.
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