South Sudan accuses north Sudan of bombing raid



March 25, 2016

South Sudan accused northern neighbour Sudan of aerial bombing raids and backing rebels, the army spokesman said Friday, days after Khartoum said the south was backing rebels on its territory.

“An Antonov belonging to Sudan Air Force bombed our defensive positions at Babaneis, east of Renk town in Eastern Nile State, a total of 12 bombs were dropped,” South Sudan army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said.

“It’s good to inform our forces, people of South Sudan, region and the international community that the aerial bombardment by Sudan Air Force were launched without provocation and constitutes violation of our air space.”

No casualties were reported. The bombing raids, which Koang said took place on Thursday morning, could not be independently confirmed.

However, Khartoum has launched barrel bomb attacks in the past, apparently targeting rebels who flee across the border.

Koang, a former South Sudan rebel who has rejoined the government, also accused Khartoum of fighting alongside South Sudan rebel general Johnson Olony.

Last week Khartoum threatened to shut its border with South Sudan just weeks after reopening crossings, accusing Juba of backing insurgents.

South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011 under a peace deal that ended decades of war, but Juba and Khartoum have never stopped trading allegations that the other side is supporting rebels on their territory, which both deny.

The neighbours fought a bitter border oil field conflict in 2012.

Sudan, which is fighting to crush rebels in Darfur, South Kordofan’s Nuba mountains and in Blue Nile — all bordering South Sudan — also hosts almost 200,000 refugees from the south.

South Sudan, which hosts over 240,00 Sudanese refugees as well as being mired in its own humanitarian crisis that had forced over two million to flee, has been in a state of civil war since December 2013.