February 12, 2013
Juba Says Sudan Massing Troops on Border
South Sudan warned Tuesday that conflict with Sudan could flare again, as a defense official in Juba accused Khartoum of massing troops along the still-disputed border.
“We have observed the Sudanese Armed Forces moving a large number of military formations to areas in Western Bahr al Ghazal... and also in some parts close to the border with Northern Bahr al Ghazal state," Juba's Deputy Defense Minister Majak D’Agoot Atem said.
"They are building up troops in Heglig or Panthpu areas. They are also building up troops in areas adjacent to Upper Nile state.”
Atem said Sudan has launched several cross-border incursions into South Sudan, including in Warguei in Northern Bahr al Ghazal state, Balbala in Western Bahr al Ghazal state, and Renk in Upper Nile state.
“This situation is indicative of a major plan underway possibly that the government of Sudan intends to take... military action in order to impose a military solution on the ongoing disputes between the two countries.”
Sudan has neither confirmed nor denied the accusations.
Border tensions between the two countries flared last year, less than 10 months after South Sudan became independent from the north under the terms of a peace agreement to end a 22-year civil war.
Many of the disputed border areas, such as Abyei and Heglig, are rich in oil and other natural resources.
South Sudan says it has alerted neighboring countries, the African Union and the UN Security Council about what officials in Juba see as Khartoum's aggression.
The accusations come days after an attack on cattle keepers in Jonglei state, in which more than 100 people died, most of them women and children. The governor of Jonglei has blamed the attack on rebels led by David Yau Yau, who Juba says is supplied with weapons by Khartoum.