BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN: Mary Nyariekhah Dabuol pats her belly and says she is proud that her ninth child will grow up in independent South Sudan, even if she and many others here fear another war with Sudan. On Tuesday, a bomber plane caused widespread panic and brought back bitter memories here in the capital of the oil-rich border state of Unity, circling overhead for several hours as residents watched or listened in terror as the bombs dropped. "When the Antonov came, I was inside my house. When I heard the sound, I ran out and hid, and then it released the bombs. We were so scared that the bombs would land on us," Dabuol says, taking refuge from Bentiu's punishing heat in the shade of a large tree. She fears the planes will come back to her new nation -- that split from Sudan in July after decades of civil war -- and that fresh conflict will scupper the stability she had been looking forward to. The bombs fell some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Bentiu but that was close enough to convince many they were returning to a state of war. "I heard the noise first, then I saw the plane circling and throwing bombs," says Elizabeth Nyawana, who was so convinced war had returned to war that she wanted to dig a trench around the house to protect her family from the artillery fire she was convinced would follow. Many of the two dozen soldiers at Bentiu hospital -- most of them admitted for gunshot wounds -- talk of a return to war. So many soldiers have been admitted that the male patients spill over into the women's wards. Another 40 are in a nearby military hospital and 10 others were evacuated to the capital Juba to be treated for mine injuries. "There were so many people hurt, I could not count them," whispered John Tong, sweating as he lay on a bed in the stifling heat, a sheet keeping the flies off a gunshot wound to the arm sustained in the recent fighting. "I'm not afraid of war. If they attack us, we shall pay them back, and the outcome will be either on us or them," says 28-year soldier Francis Mawa, who is recovering from a double gunshot wound from recent fighting. One bullet went straight through the thorax, the other grazed his abdomen.> His immediate preoccupation is trying to drain blood from his insides through a tube and into a bag on the floor. He keeps breaking off his tale to blow into a surgical glove or a bottle as the blowing action helps expel the blood into the tube. A plastic bag on the floor fills slowly with dark liquid. "When the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, everyone was happy and celebrating," Mawa said, adding that the south now doubts Sudan's commitment to the CPA. "I don't know what will bring peace -- that is up to our leaders," he said.


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