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Northern and Southern Sudan Armies Trade Accusations Over Fresh Clashes in Border Area

Published on Wednesday 3rd November 2010

Northern and southern Sudan armies are trading accusations over the responsibility for fighting between the two sides occurred last Saturday on the border between Sennar and Upper Nile states.

The two parties agreed that their troops clashed in the morning of Saturday but the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) says that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers penetrated inside Upper Nile state and the latter says SPLA troops attacked them inside Sennar state.

In accordance with the security arrangements protocol which is part of the 2005 peace agreement, SAF have to withdraw its troops from southern Sudan border while the SPLA deploys soldiers south to 1956 border.

Southern Sudan army spokesperson Kuol Diem Kuol, said Sunday that troops from northern Sudan army ambushed SPLA soldiers and returned back to their positions.

"They clashed with about 10 of our soldiers and wounded one officer and then they ran back to their base," said Kuol.

The two armies have largely observed the ceasefire established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, except clashes in Abyei and Malakal. However, different sources underline the growing tension between the two parties who accuse each other of troop buildup ahead of the referendum on southern Sudan independence next January.

SAF spokesperson today released a statement where he said that southern Sudan army penetrated to Al-Zamali area located 5 klm inside Sennar state where they attacked northern troops.

Al-Sawarmi Khaled said they agreed with the SPLA to investigate the attack through the UN peacekeepers and determine who carried out the attack as it was decided by the Joint Defense Board (JDB).

He went further to say they were surprised by the public statements made by the SPLA accusing SAF of ambushing their troops inside southern Sudan border, breaching the ceasefire established by CPA.

Both sides stressed their commitment to implement the signed agreements and to avoid return to war. Talks between the two parties are stalled over Abyei and disputed parts of the north south border.

The Sudanese army spokesperson said the JDB formed a joint committee to probe the incident indicating that UNMIS peacekeepers declined to investigate the attack despite their okay to operate in the northern Sudanese side of 1965 border.

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