North Sudan bombs border, says UN

Click to follow
The Independent Online

North Sudan's military has bombed a disputed north-south border area, a Southern Sudanese army spokesman and a UN official said today.

The air attack occurred on yesterday, said Phillip Aguer, spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Army. He said he could not confirm the precise location of the attack.

The top UN official in Southern Sudan, David Gressly, said the attack took place in the Kiir River valley in southwestern Sudan. Gressly said the casualties are in the single digits and a UN team is going to the area to assess the situation.

The area of the attack could be between two states: Northern Bahr Gazal, which is part of Southern Sudan, and Southern Darfur, which is part of the north, Gressly said. These state borders are in dispute. Under a 2005 peace deal the border between Southern Sudan and the north is supposed to be demarcated. That exercise, however, has been fraught with delays.

Southern Sudan is scheduled to hold an independence referendum in January to determine if they will remain a part of Sudan. There has been a lot of back and forth over whether that vote will be delayed, raising tensions and concerns there could be renewed conflict.

Southerners fought a two-decade civil war against the Muslim, northern-dominated central government in which 2 million people died and more than a million headed north to escape the fighting. The independence referendum will be the culmination of a six-year transitional period that was part of the 2005 peace deal that ended that 20-year north-south conflict.