BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN — Officials in South Sudan's Unity state on Thursday accused Sudan of deliberately targeting civilians in an aerial bombing raid this week that wounded seven people, including two women.
“Those fighters, they targeted the route that is used by refugees when they are coming down from Nuba to Yida camp,” Michael Chiengjiek Geay, the deputy governor of Unity state, which sits on the border with Sudan, said.
The attacks came days after the vice presidents of South Sudan and Sudan held talks in Khartoum to try to ease tensions between the two neighbors, who repeatedly swap accusations that they back rebels opposed to the other's regime.
The tensions have led to a threat from Khartoum that it will stop allowing South Sudan to ship oil through pipelines on Sudanese soil, but after the talks, South Sudanese officials said they were confident there would be no shutdown of oil exports, which are vital to the economies of both Sudans.
Geay speculated that "there might be some elements within the system in Khartoum that are not happy with current initiative, different groups within the system, that are so opposed to any peace and stability between Khartoum and Juba that they might be trying to provoke the government of South Sudan.”
The South Sudanese government will decide how to respond to the bombing raids, Geay said, adding that Unity state would abide by the decision taken in Juba.
Juba has accused Sudan of bombing its territory several times since South Sudan gained independence two years ago. Khartoum has denied the accusations, saying it only bombs areas occupied by SPLA-North rebels.