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South Sudan still on disputed border: Sudan army

AFP/File

Sudanese soldiers walk in the oil town of Heglig on April 24, 2012. Sudan on Monday accused South Sudan of continuing to occupy six points along their disputed frontier and of failing to withdraw from a buffer zone as agreed in September. - Copyright : AFP/File

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP)

Sudan on Monday accused South Sudan of continuing to occupy six points along their disputed frontier and of failing to withdraw from a buffer zone as agreed in September.

The two sides, which fought along their undemarcated border last March and April, have failed to demilitarise the frontier despite months of African Union mediation and two presidential summits since early January.

“We confirm that South Sudan is still occupying six points inside Sudan,” the official SUNA news agency quoted army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad as saying.

“The spokesman… confirmed this issue will have a dangerous impact on the peoples of the two states while negatively impacting peace and stability on the borders.”

Troops were to withdraw 10 kilometres (six miles) from the de facto line of control under key deals which Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir hailed as ending conflict.

The deals also allowed for a resumption of South Sudanese oil exports through northern pipelines, a move vital for both stricken economies.

Saad said Khartoum has informed the United Nations that Sudan “doesn’t have any troops inside South Sudanese borders or the buffer zone.”

On January 17 South Sudan said it had begun withdrawing soldiers to create the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone (SDBZ) designed to cut support for insurgencies in Sudan.

Both nations tend to employ “a lot of lip service” when discussing troop redeployments, a foreign diplomat told AFP.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels over the border in the northern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. This has been a major obstacle to implementing the September agreements.

Sudan has insisted that the oil deal cannot go ahead until the security issue is addressed.

The government in Juba in turn says Khartoum supports rebels on Southern territory.

South Sudan’s army on Sunday accused Sudan of launching a deadly air assault along the border in Upper Nile state which adjoins South Kordofan. Khartoum denied the claims.

On Monday, local government officials in South Kordofan reportedly accused “South Sudanese militia” of attacking nomads on the Sudanese side of the boundary and said troop reinforcements had been sent, including to the country’s main oil-producing area of Heglig.

“The government of South Sudan continues supporting disturbances against the border of South Kordofan and we are ready to react to any aggression,” said Bakri Salih, the head of Keilak district. He was quoted by the Sudanese Media Center which is close to the security apparatus.

South Sudan separated in July 2011 under a peace agreement that ended a 1983-2005 civil war.

Signature : Ebrahim Hamid

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