The spokesman for Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is to blame for attacks on South Sudan’s oil fields.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid said South Sudan President Salva Kiir previously admitted the SPLA “invaded and attacked the oil areas,” in that neighboring country.
“This is turned upside [down] because, yesterday [Monday], Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, declared that forces of SPLA invaded and attacked an area which is a part of Southern Sudan,” said Obeid. “This accusation is actually against what has been declared and what was acknowledged by the president of Southern Sudan.”
Obeid’s comments came after Kiir said Sudan’s air force bombed two areas in the South Sudan’s Unity state.
Kiir said, after the bombing, the Sudanese army also attacked South Sudanese forces and the militia, but were able to repel them. South Sudan insisted it will not be dragged into a senseless war with its northern neighbor.
Obeid said the allegations against Sudan sharply contradict Kiir’s admission.
“The armed forces of the South Sudan government came close to the petroleum area, about four kilometers inside the region, which belongs to the north,” said Obeid. “That is why our government chased them far away from the area. Our forces tried to negotiate with them and would not allow them to lift the flag of South Sudan government in that area. They refused to do so, and then our government tried to drive them away.”
Obeid insists the army was protecting the country’s sovereignty, as well as maintain stability and peace within Sudan’s border.
The violence comes a day after both sides accused the other of crossing the tense, poorly marked border separating the two countries. Both sides claimed they were acting in self-defense and declared victory following the fighting.
After Monday’s clashes, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir suspended a scheduled April 3rd summit with Kiir that were to be aimed at discussing disputes over the border and oil revenues.
Obeid said the SPLA attacks undermine the scheduled talks between leaders.
“They attacked our area and it is not going to be accepted. This caused the suspension the summit between the two presidents expected to be held to resolve all the outstanding points,” said Obeid. “[The attack] undermines all the procedures of achieving the resolution of the different points that are still being built between the two parties, which are the outstanding points of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA].”
Obeid said tensions between the two neighboring countries do not create a positive atmosphere for scheduled negotiations between the leaders. And, he warned South Sudan to stop attacking Sudanese territory.
“They will lose by war what they have gained by peace.”
The United States has strongly condemned renewed military violence between Sudan and South Sudan and called on both sides to end the air strikes and attacks on the ground.