South Sudan says neighbor has 'declared war'
Formal declaration of war has yet to be declared
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir says that its neighbor to the north,
Sudan has "declared war" on his nation. Fighter jets from Sudan have
reportedly launched more strikes in the border region. There has yet to
be a declaration of war, the president's comments made while he was in
China is likely to stoke more hostility between the two African nations.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir met with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, Kiir said the visit 'comes at a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan.'
South Sudanese military officials say that Sudanese Antonov airplanes dropped eight bombs between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. in Panakuac, where ground fighting had been ongoing since the weekend.
Colonel Philip Aguer says that he has not received information on casualties from the attack due to poor communications. The bombings followed aerial attacks that targeted a market and an oil field in South Sudan, leaving at least two people dead.
The assault took place after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery.
China has called for an end to weeks of border fighting between the two Sudans. The South has tried to seize Sudan's most important oilfield in the Heglig area beginning earlier this month. Beijing has been an important ally and the largest economic partner of the diplomatically isolated Sudan. However, China doesn't wish to alienate the South, the world's newest nation and a source of oil.
"I think China would be more aware than any other actor that things are on a knife edge at the moment," Larry Attree, a specialist in conflict prevention with the non-governmental organization Saferworld.
"China has a strong interest in seeing a peaceful outcome between South Sudan and Sudan and it gets 60 percent of its oil from the combination of the two countries . and both countries see it as a key partner.
"It's been Sudan's leading trade partner for the last decade or so, and also has a seat on the U.N. Security Council. In terms of clout, it is the key external actor with the influence on the two parties."
South said it withdrew its forces from the disputed oil town, with the North claiming its soldiers drove them out.
After heavy fighting last month, both Sudan and South Sudan are reportedly reinforcing troop numbers and digging into trenches along their contested border.
Taban Deng, the governor of Unity State, said that at present "with the exception of aerial bombardment, the front line is quiet."
Amid the escalating tension between the two neighbor nations, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned air raids by Sudan, and called on the countries' leaders to return to dialogue.
"The secretary-general condemns the aerial bombardment on South Sudan by Sudanese armed forces and calls on the government of Sudan to cease all hostilities immediately," Eduardo del Buey, deputy U.N. spokesman said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Sudan, South Sudan, hostilities, China, war, bombing
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