News

South Sudan Pulls Back From Disputed Northern Town

New recruits for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) train in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan, FILE July 11, 2011.
New recruits for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) train in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan, FILE July 11, 2011.

South Sudan has withdrawn its troops from a contested area north of the border in Sudan following clashes this week with Sudanese armed forces.  The renewed fighting has set back efforts to resolve multiple disputes between the two sides. 

SPLA soldiers withdraws

South Sudan's Deputy Defense Minister Majak D'Agoot says the army, known as the SPLA, has “disengaged” from the contested town of Heglig.

SPLA soldiers had pursued Sudanese forces into the area following purported air strikes in South Sudan's Unity State earlier this week.  Khartoum has denied carrying out the air strikes, and has accused Juba of instigating the fighting.

D'Agoot told VOA that all SPLA troops had drawn back from Heglig by Tuesday, and are now conducting patrols south of the border. He said the move was an effort to calm tensions and to put African Union-mediated negotiations with Khartoum back on track.

“We have moved back because there was no strategic policy directing basic retaliatory action by our forces to pursue the aggressors into the contested zone because we want to settle this matter amicably, as part of the ongoing process under the AU in Addis,” D'Agoot said.

Dispute over oil

Khartoum and Juba had been involved in talks in Addis Ababa to settle a number of issues left unresolved when South Sudan declared independence from the north in July last year, following two decades of civil war.

On top of the agenda is a dispute over oil.  South Sudan shut down oil production in January after accusing Sudan of stealing oil being pumped through northern pipelines.  Khartoum says it was confiscating oil to compensate for unpaid transit fees.

African Union chairman Jean Ping has expressed “very deep concern” about escalating tensions between the sides.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Ping said said “military means will never provide a long-term answer" to the issues affecting relations between the two countries.

Set-backs

The sides signed a memorandum of understanding last month agreeing to refrain from violence during the peace process.

South Sudan's D'agoot says Khartoum was quick to violate the pact.

“Right from the time we signed the memorandum of understanding, they kissed it goodbye as soon as it was signed.  The following day they started air attacks on our territories and a number of land aggressions, so this is part of their strategy to continue to destabilize South Sudan,” he said.

Talks between the two sides appeared to be making progress on some remaining disputes before the recent clashes.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir was scheduled to attend a summit in Juba on April 3 to discuss citizenship issues and the final demarcation of the border with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. Sudanese media reported this week the trip was canceled due to the violence.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs