29 December 2012

South Sudan: SPLA Accuses Sudanese Army of Cross-Border Kidnappings

Photo: Isaac Billy/UN Photo
Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir,left, and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir. (file photo).

Juba — South Sudan's army on Friday accused the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of holding hostage South Sudanese farmers which it kidnapped across the border in Upper Nile state.

The spokesman of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Col. Philip Aguer, said 17 civilian farmers were abducted from their farms in Renk County of northern part of Upper Nile state this week by SAF and were taken across the border to White Nile state in Sudan where they are being held hostage.

Aguer accused SAF of violating the sovereignty of South Sudan by illegally crossing into the new country and carrying out the criminal practice, warning that the SPLA will retaliate unless the hostages are released.

He also accused Khartoum of violating the recent signed Addis Ababa cooperation agreements by acting to the contrary.

SPLA had earlier this week accused SAF of carrying out ground and air attacks in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state this week as the Ethiopian Prime Minister was visiting the two countries to revive the negotiations and implementation of the Addis Ababa cooperation agreements.

SAF's spokesman has however denied that his forces had attacked South Sudan in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, saying the clashes were instead between the SPLA and the neighbouring Rizigat nomadic tribe at the border.

The accusations coincided with the visit to the two countries of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during which he met with the leaderships of South Sudan and Sudan to persuade them to revive the stalled implementation of the agreements.

A summit between presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir to try to put the two countries on the right track is expected to take place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, before January 13, 2013, according to a statement issued by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

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