Khartoum — Rebels from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) claimed today that a South Sudan militia backed by Khartoum killed at least 17 people in South Kordofan and injured scores more.
The SPLM-N which is fighting the Sudanese army in two border states issued a statement today saying that the incident took place on Friday evening in South Kordofan's Abujibeiha county.
The rebel group alleged that the assailants belonged to Sudan People's Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) led by Lam Akol. The latter has long been at odds with the government in Juba.
"SPLA/N knows where these militias are deployed and that it would not stand fold hands on these repeated attacks by the these militias protected by the Khartoum regime to destabilize the innocent citizens, looting their money and properties, and we held Khartoum government the consequences of harboring these groups in Sudanese territory to fight on their behalf" SPLM-N spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said.
"This is ridiculous," Akol told Agence France Presse (AFP) from Khartoum. "We don't have a militia." He said the rebels in South Kordofan are "just parroting what their masters in Juba are saying."
Abujibeiha county's mayor Al-Fadil Wanees gave a different account.
Wanees said South Sudan rebels attacked villagers working in gum harvest at Abu Nuwara, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border with South Sudan's Upper Nile state killing 37 people.
As the rebels were being held an SPLM-N force intervened and shot both sides killing 9 villagers and 15 from South Sudan rebels.
The mayor added that Sudan army intervened later when things escalated and killed 8 SPLM-N fighters while 5 Sudanese soldiers were killed and an unspecified number injured.