South Sudan Announces Heglig Withdrawal

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir waves to the crowd gathering outside the Defense Ministry in the capital Khartoum to celebrate retaking the oil town of Heglig from South Sudanese forces, April 20, 2012.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir waves to the crowd gathering outside the Defense Ministry in the capital Khartoum to celebrate retaking the oil town of Heglig from South Sudanese forces, April 20, 2012.
Hannah McNeish

South Sudan has said it will withdraw troops from an oil-rich area it seized last week that is also claimed by Sudan, easing tensions with its former civil war foe and fears of a return to all-out war.

Reading a statement from South Sudan President Salva Kiir, government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin announced the pullout of South Sudan‘s army -- the SPLA -- from the Heglig area on Friday.

Called Panthou by South Sudan, the Heglig oil field produces half of Sudan’s oil, and the international community has repeatedly called for South Sudan to withdraw as war rhetoric from Sudan has mounted.

"In conformity with the U.N. Security Council presidential statement, and in response to appeals by world leaders and to create an environment for the resumption of dialogue with Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan announces that SPLA troops have been ordered to withdraw from Panthou-Heglig," said Benjamin. "An orderly withdrawal will commence immediately and shall be completed within three days."

But Benjamin said that South Sudan’s pullout did not mean it had given up its claims to Heglig or other contested areas along the oil-rich border that has yet to be defined following southern independence in July.

He said that South Sudan expected the status of these areas to be determined by international arbitration and for Sudan to cease hostilities.

“In addition, the Republic of South Sudan calls on Sudan to immediately desist from air bombardments and ground incursions into the territory of the Republic of South Sudan," Benjamin said.

Benjamin also called on the international community to play a bigger role in resolving the outstanding issues between the two nations.  The issues include how to share vast oil revenues on which both sides are heavily reliant, and divide oil-rich territory along the border.

African Union-led talks over the last nine months collapsed when border fighting started on April 1.  South Sudan has said it is willing to return to negotiations if the international community gives the talks more support.

The South has said it would react if Sudan carried out threats from President Omar al-Bashir to advance and crush the southern government like an “insect."

But while the South said that its withdrawal from Heglig was not a defeat, Sudan claimed Heglig as a military victory -- a sign that the two sides are still closer to war than peace.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: hassan
April 23, 2012 12:37 AM
Please do not mix things ,it has nothing to do with Islam or Christianity. South Sudanese lived for decades in the North and I challenge any such claim. The problem is the SPLM who are controlling the poor South Sudanese. The problem is fighters governing a country with Jungle mentality. It domed to become a failed state especially when they see absolute support by the WEST.

by: Mohamed Hfaiz
April 21, 2012 10:29 PM
As you all see how the SPLA escapes from Heglig leaving their dead poeple behind and their weapons , the cowards always escape ,they invaded Heglig ,but they don not know us well . Isee the coward with my own eye how they are running,we swear by GOD as Sudanese not to stop at Heglig a hard lesson will give to Salva and his people.

by: LOKA
April 21, 2012 9:45 AM

by: Afrikao
April 20, 2012 9:47 PM
Peace is the answer NOT war...... I thought after all of these years of fighting each others, the sudanese people want peace and nothing else ...... May be I am just a damn dreamer after all. What a shame!

by: Boson
April 20, 2012 3:44 PM
What is that means for the south to withdraw the troops from the area that we think is ours? why we listening to the UN and AU? for withdrawing our troops.How about people to think that we are claiming the places that are not our then what we gonna say? the withdrawing of the troops is not right for somebody to order us as we are not free looks like as we are under somebody control.

by: Muneer
April 20, 2012 2:24 PM
People of the South are good, honest people. We in the north have nothing against South Sudanese people.
It is the SPLM (the guys with the us$10,000 suits), that we are against.
The best dressed government in the world. An SPLM official wears US$50,000 minimum in each dressing. What does that say about good governance?

by: Henry Reriani
April 20, 2012 2:14 PM
Now let the UN force sudan to withdraw from Abyei. Khartoum Arab suprimacist ideology is the biggest threat that the christian led country in east and horn Africa face after Al-shabaab. the christianity led Horn-of-Africa countries must have the courage to confront and defeat this radicals. otherwise blacks and christians will never be safe.
congratulations SPLA!!!!

by: joseph lexton
April 20, 2012 1:52 PM
people who said or believe that south is weak let them talk as they "like" but my advise to security council that south sudan are for"peace" and 'dialogue" let me clarified to you our fellow north sudanese pray heart that one day your sudan army force not to enter INCH OFsouth sudan " territory" warning.

by: Mohamed
April 20, 2012 11:47 AM
Liar liar pants on fire.
SPLM is the biggest liar.
Last week.....the "Ban Ki Mon has no right to give us orders" said Salva Kiir
The past 2 days...."We will never withdraw from Heglig it is ours" said Salva Kiir.
Yesterday....."I heard you ran away(to his soldiers),.....burn all the oil fields so they don't benefit from them". Said Taban Deng governor of Unity State.

Today......"we are listening to the international community."
I call them liars!

by: Nyoung Koang
April 20, 2012 8:39 AM
International community is against South Sudan!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs