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North Sudan Accidentally Bombs South

A South Sudan military spokesman says a bombing from the north that struck southern territory late Friday was an accident.

Sudanese Liberation People's Army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer said Saturday that military officials from both the north and south conferred on the incident and it was determined to be unintentional. Aguer said the northern army had been targeting rebels.

Details on casualties and where exactly the bomb exploded are unclear. A top U.N. official for Sudan, David Gressly, told the Associated Press a U.N. team was going to the sight of the explosion to investigate.

Both the south and the north have accused each other of building up weapons and massing troops along their shared boundary ahead of a referendum scheduled for January 9 on whether south Sudan becomes independent.

This week, the defense ministers from northern and southern Sudan vowed there will be no return to war.

In a joint televised appearance from Khartoum, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein and the south's minister in charge of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, Nhial Deng Nhial, said they want to send a message to their citizens that they have committed themselves to peace.

Nhial said regardless of the differences between the two sides, all disagreements will be resolved through political dialogue.

The referendum is part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended more than two decades of war between the north and south.

The sides remain in disagreement about issues including the position of their border and how they would share oil if the south votes for secession.

A separate referendum to be held January 9 is to decide whether the oil-producing Abyei region in the middle of the country becomes part of the north or the south.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.