Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir speaking at a youth rally of the ruling National Congress Party on April 18, 2012. The president said that they would have to liberate the south if provocations continue., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
22 April 2012
Last updated at 16:49 ET
Renewed fighting on Sudan border near disputed oilfield
The fighting broke out as South Sudan said it had completed its withdrawal from Hegilig
Fighting has broken out on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, shortly after the South pulled out of a disputed border town.
South Sudanese military officials say they repulsed ground and air attacks.
Sudan confirmed there had been clashes, which come after 10 days of fighting over the oilfield town of Heglig.
Satellite pictures of the Heglig area released on Sunday suggest key oil installations were badly damaged in the fighting and are no longer operating.
The pictures were analysed by the US-funded Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), which says it is impossible to know who was responsible for the damage.
Sudan and South Sudan have accused each other of attacking oil facilities. On Friday South Sudan said it was withdrawing from Heglig, while Sudan said it forced out the South's troops.
Access to the disputed border region around Heglig is limited, making it difficult to verify what is happening in the area.
The renewed fighting has been taking place to the south of the Heglig oilfields, although it is unclear which side of the disputed border it is happening.
Sudan military officials said its forces had repulsed a major rebel attack.
The BBC's James Copnall who is in the border town of Bentiu says the fighting makes it clear that tension has not eased, and also underlines that all-out war is still a possibility.
He says South Sudan is building up its troops near the border, and is assuming that Sudan is doing the same.
The satellite pictures provided by SSP suggest that the oil industry has been deliberately targeted in the earlier fighting.
One picture appears to show an oil collection point at the end of two pipelines has been destroyed, leaving charred wreckage over a wide area.
SSP says it is impossible to know whether the damage was done by aerial bombing or ground attacks.
Others show tanks, smoke rising from explosions that are consistent with aerial bombing, and cratering.
There are also pictures showing that the Sudan Air Force runway in South Kordofan has been paved and lengthened to allow Antonov bombers to land there.
SSP, which was set up to campaign against the return to full-scale civil war between the two countries, used pictures from DigitalGlobe satellites, which were analysed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
SSP receives funding from the Not on Our Watch project, founded by US activists including the actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
On Friday South Sudan said it would withdraw from the Heglig area, while Sudan said its forces had re-taken control of the area.
The area north of the disputed border provides most of of Sudan's oil output, and is a crucial part of its economy.
Meanwhile on Monday the South Sudan President Salva Kiir is travelling to China for an official visit, Agence France-Presse reports