Sudan, South Sudan Clash Near Oilfields

March 27, 2012 Updated: March 28, 2012

Sudanese warplanes on Tuesday bombed oilfields in South Sudan’s Unity state located along the disputed border between the two countries, according to the Sudan Tribune.

A reporter with the publication in Unity state said he saw Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) planes drop bombs on the fields, located around 12 miles from the town of Rukotana.

The airstrike comes a day after Sudan clashed with South Sudan’s army in another oil-rich town, according to the Tribune. 

The Unity state communications officer, Gideon Gatpan Thoar, told the publication that Sudan’s army initiated the conflict on Monday in the town of Heglig, adding that South Sudan’s army is “defending the country against SAF’s aggression.”

On Monday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir said, “They attacked our forces and our forces were able to repulse them and they ran away. The last information that came to me was that our forces have also taken over Heglig,” he was quoted by the Tribune as saying.

The clashes also prompted the cancellation of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to the South Sudan capital of Juba next week. A top Sudanese official, al-Haj Adam Youssef said on national television that Bashir won’t go to the South and accused Juba of plotting to control Heglig.

A spokesperson with the the United Nations refugee agency expressed concerns over the clashes and bombings near the poorly-marked border area. The agency noted that around 135,000 Sudanese refugees from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states have attempted to cross into South Sudan or Ethiopia in recent months.