5 killed in Sudanese air raid

2012-04-14 21:00

Juba - A Sudanese plane bombed Bentiu, capital of South Sudan's oil-rich border state of Unity, on Saturday, killing five civilians and wounding six, a local government spokesperson said.

Gideon Gatfan, spokesperson of the Unity state government, said one bomb fell beside a car market near a bridge which was the target of the raid.

"Five traders have been killed," he told AFP. "The bomb fell next to a place where cars are being sold.

"We also found that six people were wounded including one woman and they are now admitted to Bentiu Hospital," he said.

Gatfan said earlier that the raid had failed to destroy the bridge, which links Bentiu to a road leading to the border between Sudan and South Sudan some 60km to the north, the theatre of fierce clashes in recent days.

It was the second air raid reported by South Sudanese officials on Bentiu since Thursday.

The Sudanese military in Khartoum could not be reached for comment.

The South Sudan army claimed Saturday to still be in control of the oil hub of Heglig after Khartoum said it had launched an offensive to recapture the area seized by Juba's forces on Thursday.

The clashes are the worst since South Sudan's independence from Sudan last July under a 2005 peace accord and have brought the two former foes the closest yet to a return to outright war.

No information was available early on Saturday on the positions of the two armies.

At least two million people died in Sudan's 22-year civil war, one of Africa's longest, before the peace deal opened the way to South Sudan's independence.

When the South separated, Khartoum lost about 75% of its oil production and billions of dollars in revenue, leaving the Heglig area as its main producer.