South Sudan Accuses North of Bombing Oil Wells

Posted March 1st, 2012 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
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Officials in South Sudan have accused neighboring Sudan of bombing oil wells, the latest sign of rising tension between the countries.

Several officials, including government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin, say Sudanese warplanes dropped bombs Wednesday in an area of Unity State, about 75 kilometers from the two countries' contested border.

The officials say the bombardment destroyed two oil wells.

A spokesman for Sudan's military, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, dismissed the accusations as false.

Marial said the attack violated a non-aggression pact Sudan and South Sudan signed in Ethiopia last month.

“…this is actually a violation of the non-aggression treaty that we signed two weeks ago and with the nature of Sudan's government, they always don't respect what they signed with anybody. We are not surprised.”

The south has repeatedly accused the north of violating its territory, and both sides have accused each other of supporting the other's rebels.

The two countries are locked in a dispute over oil revenues. The south took over three-fourths of Sudanese oil production when it became independent last July but relies on northern pipelines and facilities to send the oil abroad.

The north seized millions of barrels of oil after the south refused to pay what it considered excessive transport fees. The south has reacted by shutting down oil production, a move analysts say is bound to hurt both countries.

The dispute and simmering tensions over the border have raised fears the two Sudans are headed toward war. In the former unified Sudan, the north and south fought a bloody civil war that lasted 21 years.

Marial said Thursday that South Sudan will file a complaint about Sudan with the United Nations Security Council. Sudan filed a complaint about the south with the Security Council on Tuesday.