South Sudan says its oil region under attack again

Tue May 1, 2012 1:38pm GMT

By Yara Bayoumy

JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan accused Sudan of launching an attack in an oil region of the newly independent state on Tuesday and said it was preparing to strike back, in another sign of the festering violence along the frontier.

The scale of the fighting was not immediately clear.

Weeks of border clashes have stoked fears that South Sudan and its northern neighbour could return to all-out war after failing to resolve wrangles over oil revenues, border demarcation and other issues since the south seceded last year.

Philip Aguer, spokesman for South Sudan's army, the SPLA, said Sudanese forces, militias and mercenaries attacked their positions in Hofra in the oil region of Unity state, where there have been a number of strikes in the past week.

"The SPLA is pursuing them and has repulsed the attackers. They have also captured three trucks," Aguer said.

He also said the SPLA would counter what he said was a planned attack by Sudanese army forces on the disputed border towns of Jau and Paryang.

The Sudanese army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The renewed fighting and hostile rhetoric between the former civil war foes have prompted the United Nations to take up the crisis at the Security Council.   Continued...

A Sudanese engineer points at the damage to an oil pipeline in a largely damaged oilfield in Heglig April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
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