JUBA, Sudan, July 23 (Reuters)
Southern Sudan's army accused northern forces on Wednesday of raiding a village in the oil-producing Abyei region, where clashes in May raised fears for a 2005 peace deal between north and south. But the army in Khartoum said the accusations were untrue.
Clashes in Abyei in May killed scores and drove 50,000 from their homes. After the fighting, the two sides agreed to a roadmap to resolve the crisis with a joint force to patrol there and the withdrawal of the two armies. The southern Sudan People's Liberation Army said a village 10 km (six miles) north of Abyei had been attacked on Tuesday by the northern Sudan Armed Forces.
"They have burned down houses and schools," the SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics James Hoth Mai told Reuters. He said he had no reports of casualties. But the army spokesman in Khartoum said: "There is absolutely no truth in this matter... Until now we have withdrawn 77 percent of our battalion from Abyei and we are continuing with this."
The southern army says it has withdrawn all its forces from Abyei. It says that if the northern army maintains soldiers in Abyei, it will refer the matter to Sudan's presidency and the body monitoring the north-south ceasefire. The north-south peace deal in 2005 ended Africa's longest civil war, shared power and wealth, enshrined democratic transformation and created separate north and south armies. The south and Abyei will be able vote in 2011 on possible secession. Some 2 million people died in Sudan's north-south war that also displaced around 4 million. It is separate from the Darfur conflict in the west of the country
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