Sudan continued with its aerial bombardment of South Sudan yesterday, dropping eight bombs overnight, an official said, as South Sudan’s president said the attacks amounted to a declaration of war by Khartoum.
South Sudanese military spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said that Sudanese Antonovs dropped eight bombs overnight between 11pm and 1am in Panakuac, where he said ground fighting had been ongoing since Sunday. Aguer said he has not received information on whether there were casualties from the attack because of poor communications.
On Monday, Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oilfield in South Sudan, killing at least two people after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir yesterday during a visit to Beijing told China’s president that attacks by rival Sudan amount to a declaration of war on his country.
There has yet to be a formal declaration of war by either of the Sudans, and Kiir’s remark, made during talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), signals a ratcheting up of rhetoric between the rival nations, which have been teetering on the brink of war.
Kiir arrived in China late on Monday for a five-day visit lobbying for economic and diplomatic support. He told Hu the visit comes at a “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 Sudan broke away from its neighbor and became independent last year. The two countries have been unable to resolve disputes over sharing oil revenue and determining a border. Talks broke down this month after attacks started between the two countries with South Sudan invading the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which Khartoum claims it controls.
Following international pressure, Juba announced that it had withdrawn all its troops from -Heglig, but Sudan claimed its troops forced them out.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to press ahead with his military campaign until all of Juba’s troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.
In a fiery speech at a rally on Friday, after he declared the liberation of Heglig, al-Bashir said there would be no negotiations with the “poisonous insects” the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, a political party that Kiir leads. Al-Bashir also said he would never allow South Sudanese oil to pass through Sudan “even if they give us half the proceeds.”