Sudanese military planes reportedly bombed villages in South Sudan today, both escalating weeks of fighting on the border and ending hopes that Sudan would remove its troops from a contested region.
Initial reports indicate that the towns of Bentiu and Rubkona in South Sudan’s Unity state were the targets of the bombardment. The bombing came on the heels of the pullout of South Sudanese forces from the oil-rich Heglig area at the center of recent fighting at the request of the United Nations.
The African Union is expected to meet later this week to discuss how to ease tensions between the two nations. Relations have been mostly peaceful but tense since South Sudan became independent last July. Khartoum officially welcomed the secession of the South, but internal disputes in each country ”“ including the northern border states of Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Abyei, and the southern state of Unity ”“ have turned bloody. Each side accuses the other of starting proxy wars in the other’s country. But at root of this conflict is the fact that ”œmany issues were left unresolved, including security, borders, citizenship and nationality, and oil transit fees,” the Sudan Tribune reports.
According to Agence France-Presse, the recent violence in Heglig is the worst since South Sudan became independent.