South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has been in China, in part, to solicit that country’s help in financing an oil pipeline to Kenya. Kiir is cutting his visit short, apparently, because the country to his north – Sudan – appears to be stepping up its bombing campaigns.
Via Sudan Tribune:
Sudan resumed its bombing of South Sudan’s Unity State on Tuesday, the military claimed, a day after two people were killed when bombs landed near the state’s capital Bentiu.
In statements indicative of the current tensions and military build up on either side of the border, a South Sudanese intelligence officer has expressed fears that the Sudanese army may try and attack Bentiu.
Bentiu, where some of the bombs landed on Monday, lies at least 60 kilometres (40 kilometres) from the border with North Sudan.
During his current visit to China – a large investor in the oil industries of both nations – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir said that the latest fighting amounted to a declaration of a war by the Sudanese government.
Fears are growing that the two sides could return to a full-scale international conflict over their disputed oil-rich border that was not demarcated before South Sudan seceded last year.
South Sudan’s army (SPLA) spokesperson, Philip Aguer, told Reuters that Sudanese Antonov aircraft had dropped bombs 40 km (25 miles) inside his country in the areas of Teschween, Panakuach and Roliaq on Tuesday…
…Despite being condemned for the bombing by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Khartoum continues to deny responsibility for any air attacks over South Sudan. A UN report covering April 13-19 said that “clashes and/or bombardments were reported in all five border states between South Sudan and Sudan, as hostilities continued between the two countries.”
South Sudan is at a severe disadvantage against the Muslim north in at least one respect; it does not have an air force.