JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan said Wednesday it has pulled out its troops from a contested area along the border with Sudan shortly after clashes between the two countries’ armies sparked fears of a return to war.
Military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said that southern troops had “disengaged and withdrawn” from Heglig, an oil-rich area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.
Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and South Sudan‘s army erupted Monday afternoon, but the two sides disagree on how the fighting started. The south says Sudan bombed its positions and then sent in ground troops. Sudan said the south started the fighting.
“It was never our policy to occupy and capture Heglig,” Aguer said. “It was the aggression of the Sudan Armed Forces that brought us to the area.”
The fighting came one week before a scheduled visit by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Juba for continued talks on critical issues such as oil sharing and border demarcation. Al-Bashir was also expected to sign a deal on citizenship and immigration between the two nations reached two weeks ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Sudan‘s Ministry of Information
Category: South Sudan News