News24

Kiir blames Khartoum for violence

2011-11-10 11:36

Juba - South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused Khartoum on Wednesday of killing seven people in bomb attacks in Upper Nile state, a key oil producing region that borders Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan.

Kiir accused Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of seeking to divert public attention from mounting domestic woes by blaming the south for conflict in its new border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

"President Kiir announced that Omar al-Bashir bombed an area in northern Upper Nile called Gaffa and killed not less than seven people", South Sudan's government website reported from his presidential address to officers graduating from military college in Ownyikibul, Eastern Equatoria state.

"Omar al-Bashir is trying to run away from his own internal political problems by alleging that the SPLA is supporting the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and is keeping his soldiers away in the battlefields so that they do not turn against him," Kiir is reported to have said.

Khartoum last week accused the southern government of supporting the SPLM-North rebels in its embattled border states, including giving sanctuary to rebels fleeing Blue Nile in neighbouring Upper Nile state.

The SPLM-North told AFP that the Sudanese army killed eight people during a four hour bombardment of a refugee camp in Gaffa in Upper Nile on Tuesday.

"Eight of the refugees are killed and a number are injured", said SPLM-N spokesperson Kadia Shimallia.

Northern officials were not immediately available for comment and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the area was not a formal camp and a recent visit estimated the number of people there at around 400.

Kiir "urged Bashir to sit down with his people and resolve all the political issues in the north", where conflict between the government and SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan that fought alongside the south for 21-years broke out weeks before its July 09 independence.

The conflict spread to Blue Nile state after failed attempts at military integration and public consultations laid out in a 2005 peace agreement that paved the way for southern secession.

South Sudan denies funding the SPLM-N rebels, claiming to have struck all soldiers in the northern faction off its payroll at independence.