Sudans Still Tense After South Withdrawal From Disputed Town

Posted April 22nd, 2012 at 12:01 pm (UTC-5)
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The border region between the two Sudans remains volatile after the south's withdrawal from the flashpoint town of Heglig, an oil-producing area claimed by both countries.

There are reports Sunday that Sudan's armed forces have continued air raids inside South Sudan, despite the south's withdrawal from Heglig on Friday.

The showdown over Heglig and its lucrative oil fields had raised fears the two countries could be on the verge of a full-scale war, less than ten months after the south formally split from the north.

Residents in South Sudan's town of Bentiu told a VOA correspondent they live in fear because of continued air attacks by Sudan.

Meanwhile, convoys of the south's Sudan Peoples Liberation Army were seen traveling toward the northern border late Saturday.

South Sudan said it pulled troops out of Heglig because of international pressure, but the north has claimed the south withdrew because it was on the verge of defeat by Sudanese forces.

The international community has pressed both sides to halt cross-border attacks and restart dialogue to settle unresolved issues, including border, oil revenue and citizenship disputes.

On Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to both governments to avoid war and return to peaceful negotiations. He added there is no military solution to the conflict between the neighboring countries.

Mr. Obama called on both governments to stop arming rebels across their borders and to allow aid groups access to people caught in the fighting.

In 2005, the north and south signed a peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war that killed more than two million people.