Sudan Declares Itself in State of War with South Sudan, Stops Negotiations
Khartoum – The Sudanese Government has stopped all forms of negotiations with South Sudan saying the country is now in state of war and vowed to retaliate by all legitimate means to the aggression launched by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) against Higlig a couple of days ago.
The National Assembly and the Council of States at a joint session yesterday declared general mobilization, discontinuation of talks with South Sudan and the immediate withdrawal of Sudan’s negotiators in the wake of the South Sudan-backed aggression.
Sudanese Defence Minister, Gen. Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, addressing an urgent question at the joint session of the two Houses, confirmed the combat readiness of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and other organized troops to repulse the South Sudan-backed aggression launched by the so-called Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), adding the SRF and some opposition parties are seeking to destabilize the country by stirring chaos and inciting sedition to overthrow the regime in Khartoum.
To topple the Government, he said, South Sudan provided necessary reinforcement to the SRF, adding that the actual attack began on 28th March when they tried unsuccessfully to occupy the town of Talodi to use it as springboard for further military operations against the country.
He said the rebel strength in South Kordofan stands at 22 battalions and each battalion is made up of 500 soldiers deployed towards Talodi, Kadugli and Kauda. He added that the force commanded by Minni Minnawi is composed of 61 Land Cruisers provided by South Sudan and deployed around oil fields in Ragad, Techwin and Manga.
Gen. Hussein revealed that the first attack on Higlig was launched by two battalions from the SPLA’s Fourth Division but this force was defeated and destroyed by the SAF.
He said the latest attack on Heglig which occurred on 10th April was carried out by tanks and rockets which destroyed the site where SAF force was located and consequently the SAF force withdrew north of Techwin area and fierce fighting continued in which all weapons including tanks were used, forcing SAF to withdraw to Kharsana area.
The Defence Minister said the rebel plan is to control oil-rich areas from where they will proceed to Al-Obeid, Kadugli and Talodi to create political chaos in Khartoum to be exploited by the opposition to overthrow the Government.
With regard to the situation in Darfur and Blue Nile States, Gen. Hussein said rebels in Darfur were reduced to bandits and in the Blue Nile they were pushed back to 1956 borderline.
He said the forces battling SAF get their salaries directly from South Sudan and their military operations are coordinated directly with the SPLA.
Meanwhile, First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice President Al-Haj Adam and Presidential Assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed have condemned South Sudan’s attitude towards Sudan.
Adam declared yesterday mobilization from Al-Obeid to support the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) efforts to respond to the attack launched by South Sudan against Higlig area.
“Negotiations with South Sudan are now put on hold and the state is required to defend its borders” he said, adding “the country is now in state of war with Juba and will not negotiate”.
Vice President, Musa Mohamed Ahmed, for his part, said the aggression reflects the hostile attitude of the SPLA towards Sudan and its people, adding the Sudanese Government has the political will to protect security and stability of the country, calling on the Government of South Sudan to desist from these attacks and respond to the voice of reasons.
In the same vein, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reacted to the aggression. “How can we negotiate when the country is under attack” Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Rahamatallah Osman, told a press conference after meeting with Ambassadors accredited to the Sudan. He characterized the attack as flagrant aggression against Sudanese territories which run counter to all international laws and norms. He said what has taken place derailed all agreements, and affirmed that Higlig is a Sudanese territory, not a disputed territory, citing international arbitration ruling which stated that Heglig is outside Abyei and inside Sudanese territories.
Osman revealed that an official complaint was lodged to the UN Security Council and the African Union, calling on the Security Council to seriously consider the complaints. He also called on Security Council to put pressure on South Sudan to immediately pull out its forces from Sudanese territories.
The Undersecretary also underlined Sudan’s right to retaliate to the South Sudan-backed aggression against Sudanese territories in accordance with the international law.
With regard to international reaction, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, issued statement condemning what he described as unprovoked attack, and called on the Government of South Sudan to immediately withdraw its forces from Sudanese territories. He urged both countries exercise self-restraint, avoid military escalation and resolve differences by peaceful means based on agreements and mechanisms between the two countries.
By Zuleikha Abdel Raziq/Ibrahim Al Jack/Mohamed Abdallah, 11/04/2012