South Sudan said Sudan bombed two towns in Unity state, killing at least four civilians and wounding 21. A camp of United Nations peacekeepers and oil fields in the region of Heglig were bombed, South Sudan said.
Sudanese planes yesterday dropped eight bombs on residential areas in Bentiu, the Unity state capital, and six on the town of Mayom, South Sudanese government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said today by phone. The attack on the UN camp caused no casualties, he said.
“They are bombing at random,” Benjamin said from Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Facilities at oil fields in Heglig were hit, and southern officials are investigating the damage, he said.
Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarami Khaled denied bombing Bentiu. “We’re just defending our land, and we have nothing to do with what’s happening in Unity state” Khaled said today by phone from Khartoum.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Sudanese forces were responsible for bombing the UN camp. “ Of course, we denounce the continued aerial bombardment by the Sudanese armed forces of South Sudan, which includes civilian areas,” he said.
“We want to see, bottom line, an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities,” Toner said. “South Sudan needs to withdraw from Heglig, and, you know, Sudan needs to stop its aerial bombardment, and both sides need to get back” to the African Union mechanism for resolving outstanding issues.
U.S. special envoy Princeton Lyman met today with South Sudan President Salva Kiir in Juba to discuss how to de-escalate tensions, Toner said.
The Sudanese parliament in Khartoum, the capital, voted to declare the government of South Sudan an “enemy.” Legislators on April 11 approved a mobilization of the armed forces and the suspension of talks with the south.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July last year after a 2005 peace deal ended two decades of war. Fighting in the ill- defined border region separating the two nations broke out after South Sudanese forces seized control of the oil-rich Heglig region on April 10.
Sudanese Information Minister Abdalla Ali Massar said his government’s army hadn’t attacked the oil fields in Heglig and that any damage to them was caused by South Sudan’s forces, the state-run Sudan News Agency reported yesterday.
South Sudan assumed control of about three quarters of the formerly unified country’s oil production of 490,000 barrels a day. Most of the crude is pumped by the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPZ), Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PET). and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd.
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