Gunmen fire at UN helicopters on North-South Sudan border

Gunmen from an Arab tribe have fired on four United Nations helicopters taking off from a disputed town on the North-South Sudan border, while the President yesterday gave Northern troops approval to attack Southern forces if provoked.

A UN spokeswoman said the helicopters were fired on as they took off from Abyei late on Tuesday, but none were hit.

Both Sudan's North and South claim Abyei, a fertile region located near several oil fields. Northern tanks rolled into the disputed region on Saturday after an attack on a Northern army convoy last week. Southern Sudan voted in January to secede from the North in July, but the North's occupation of Abyei has greatly strained North-South relations.

The state news agency said that President Omar al-Bashir had given his army a green light to attack if they felt provoked.