Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sudan's Head of Parliament Says Southern Army Preparing to Attack Blue Nile

Sudan’s top MP says southern army preparing to attack Blue Nile

March 28, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The head of Sudan’s parliament, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Tahir, alleged on Wednesday that the army of South Sudan is mustering troops to attack on Blue Nile State, one day after the two neighbours eased military escalations along another stretch of the border.

Al-Tahir said during a parliamentary session that the southern army known as SPLA was currently amassing troops along the north-south border to attack Blue Nile but he stressed that the Sudanese Army (SAF) is prepared to repulse the potential assault.

Sudan’s border state of Blue Nile is the scene of a conflict between government forces and rebels Khartoum accuses South Sudan of backing. Juba denies the charge.

Military confrontations erupted on Monday between SAF and SPLA around the oil-rich town of Heglig inside the Sudanese border state of South Kordofan, raising fears of a return to all out war between Khartoum and Juba.

Further escalation occurred when SAF bombed oil fields in the South Sudan’s northern state of Unity.

However, the SPLA later announced the end of engagement with SAF and withdrawal of its troops from Heglig. Both sides said they don’t want to go back to full-blown war.

The clashes in Heglig came at a time when the two countries appeared to be making unprecedented progress in the negotiations over post secession issues.

Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir was scheduled to visit Juba for a summit with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit after the two countries initialed agreements on borders and nationality earlier this month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Following the clashes, Khartoum announced that the planned trip had been put on hold.


On the diplomatic battlefront, meanwhile, the Sudanese government has announced it will lodge an official complaint with the UN Security Council (UNSC) against the SPLA’s attack in South Kordofan.

Salah Wansi, Sudan’s acting minister of foreign affairs, said during the parliament’s session on Wednesday that the new complaint would be supported by a recording of Kiir’s announcement that the SPLA had attacked Heglig.

The Sudanese diplomat called on the international community to advise South Sudan to refrain from hostilities against Sudan in order to achieve peace and security between the two nations.

Khartoum has already filed four complaints with the UNSC against South Sudan since the latter seceded in July last year under a 2005 peace deal that ended nearly half a century of north-south civil wars in the former united Sudan.


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