April 2, 2012 (JUBA/BENTIU) - South Sudan’s deputy defense minister, Majak D’Agoot, on Sunday said Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces had carried out fresh attacks inside South Sudanese territory.

Chop Mut Machar, a resident of Guit County, showing the crater from an Antenov bomb dropped by the Sudan Armed Forces in Manga village, Unity State, South Sudan. 1 April 2012 (ST)

“The Sudan Armed Forces carried out attacks while I was even in the area. They carried out aerial bombardment at 2am in the night and resumed at about 8am in the morning”, D’ Agoot told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

Guit County Commissioner, James Puoy Yaka, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that an Antenov bomber belonging to the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) dropped bombs on Guit County, Unity State, corroborating the deputy minister’s account.

Yaka said that there are no military barracks in the Kuerbuokni area of Manga Payam [district], where around eight bombs landed, concluding that SAF must have been targeting civilians.

Manga, where the bombs were dropped on Sunday, is about 40 kilometers from Unity State’s capital Bentiu. Chop Mut Machar a resident of Manga showed Sudan Tribune where the eight bombs were dropped, explaining that no one was injured.

The commissioner urged the international community to step up pressure on Khartoum to stop the "aggression of the Sudanese government".

The international community has urged both sides to step back from the brink of a return to war - the previous north-south civil war lasted over a decade and resulted in the death of around two million people.

However, the US and UK have also demanded that the SPLA stop backing armed rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which were part of the group during the civil war. Since South Sudan became independent in July Khartoum has repeatedly to alleged that the SPLA-Northern Sector is supported by Juba.

South Sudan also accuses Khartoum of backing rebels in South Sudan. Both sides deny the allegations.

Deputy minister D’Agoot made the remarks after returning from a two day visit to northern Unity State to assess the security situation and the needs of the government and troops along the border.

He was accompanied on his trip by high ranking military officers including General Obate Mamur, the Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) for moral orientation.

The deputy defence minister’s claim that the bombings by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have continued since they began on 26 March, was repeated by South Sudan’s information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin on Monday.

Last week SAF bombs landed on Unity State’s oil fields but did not damage any facilities. Antanov bombers are notoriously inaccurate as the bombs are dropped by hand out of the back of the aircraft.

Despite numerous instances of bombing South Sudanese territory since secession last year, Khartoum always denies carrying out the attacks focusing its criticism on the Juba government for its backing of rebels north of the border.

The clashes last week heightened fears of a return to all out conflict, with South Sudan forces (SPLA) attacking the oil-producing are of Heglig inside the Sudanese state of South Kordofan. Both sides accuse the other of triggering the fighting.

The morale of the army is very high, D’Agoot said, adding that the SPLA was capable of protecting territorial integrity of the young nation.

D’Agoot also said that he received reports that a ground attack had also taken place from 3-4pm on Sunday but was repulsed without any casualties in Apuokuer Payam [district] of Pariang County, Unity State.

James Gatduel Gatluak, the Maj. Gen. of the SPLA’s Division Four in Unity State, said his forces had captured one tank and four Toyota pickup land cruisers during the fighting, which lasted for an hour.

“As you are seeing the SPLA now, there is nothing left out from them in term of guns, whatever kinds of weapons Omer Bashir Army has in Sudan, we have it here, we are assuring to the local population in South Sudan particularly Unity State to stay peacefully since then our army are ready for self defend for the better security of our nation”, said Gatluak.

(ST)

Al Jazeera | Fears of war as Sudan talks stall | April 2, 2012

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNFqcZSdNC9iyH9Yo1jhUefq8aEE1w&url=http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudan-war-plane-bombs-Unity-State,42111

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