Saturday, April 14, 2012
South Sudan troops 'repel oil town attack'.(AlJazeera).South Sudan says its soldiers have retained control of a key town in the oil-producing border region of Heglig despite clashes with Sudanese forces. Philip Aguer, a spokesman for South Sudan's military, known as the SPLA, said on Saturday there had been overnight clashes in Kelet, a village about 40kms from Heglig town. "Yesterday, there were clashes between their patrols and SPLA. ... SPLA has destroyed two tanks belonging to the SAF," Colonel Aguer said. South Sudanese forces seized control of Heglig town earlier in the week during the worst fighting in the region since the South seceded from Khartoum's rule last year. South Sudan's information minister also said Sudanese efforts to regain Heglig had been repelled. "They tried to attack our positions north of Heglig last night but it was contained," said Barnaba Marial Benjamin. "Heglig is (still) under our control." Aguer said Sudan's air force bombed the border areas of Jau and Panakuach, in northern South Sudan's Unity State, on Saturday, as well as Heglig, the main producer of Khartoum's oil.
No information was available early on Saturday on the positions of the two armies. A Unity State government spokesperson, reached by telephone in the state capital Bentiu, confirmed the aerial bombings near the border. "The areas in the north of Unity State are still subject to Antonovs (planes)," said the spokesperson, Gideon Gatfan. "We don't have the updates yet between Heglig and Kelet, but all those areas they are subjected to bombing."
On Friday, Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, said a spokesperson there had told her Sudanese forces were about 30kms from Heglig and that South Sudanese would defend themselves if they attempted to take back the town. "This could end up becoming a full-blown conflict," our correspondent said. World powers and the United Nations have urged restraint after the latest round of heavy fighting that broke out on Tuesday.The African Union denounced the South's occupation of Heglig as illegal and urged the two sides to avert a "disastrous" war.Read and see (video) the full story here.