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Latest Bombings Kill 5 in South Sudan

April 16, 2012

Gabe Joselow | Nairobi

South Sudan says Sudanese warplanes have bombed several areas near the two countries' volatile border, killing five people. According to reports, a bomb also struck a U.N. peacekeeping base in the south.

South Sudan's military, the SPLA, says Sudanese planes carried out bombing raids Sunday in Unity State in the south.

SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer says five civilians were killed in Mayom county and nine people were injured, including a Kenyan woman who was working as a teacher in the area.

South Sudan has also accused the Sudanese Air Force (SAF) of bombing an oilfield in the town of Heglig, which the SPLA seized from the north last week. Khartoum denies the charge and says any damage in the area was inflicted by SPLA forces.

Aguer says southern forces remain firmly in control of the territory. “SPLA is still controlling Heglig and we are determined because that is our territory, that is part of South Sudan. We are controlling it and SAF is advancing from the north and we know that,” he said.

Oil fields in Heglig produce about half of Sudan's total oil output. That output was sharply curtailed last year when the newly-independent south took over about three-fourths of Sudan's former oil production.

South Sudan's occupation of Heglig has drawn condemnation from the international community and threats of retaliation from Sudan.

The French news agency, AFP, is reporting a U.N. peacekeepers' camp was also bombed Sunday in Mayom. A U.N. spokesman said there were no casualties.

The south has accused Sudan of carrying out near-daily bombings in southern territory.

The fighting has raised fears Sudan and South Sudan will slide into full-scale war, less than a year after the south broke away and became an independent country.

The African Union is calling for leadership from both President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir, and says both countries are to blame for a dangerous level of tension.

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