South Sudan declares state of emergency
Sudan declared state of emergency along the border of South Sudan amidst fear of an all-out war between the two nations following a month of clashes over disputed areas and oil.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s issued an order to the authorities in the border areas to make arrests and set up special courts. His decree also includes the suspension of constitution and trade embargo with the South.
The resolution follows a day after Sudan accused their detainees – three foreigners and a South Sudanese – of spying for South Sudan, a charge the latter denies. However, the Sudanese army are resolute in their accusation claiming the captives possess military background.
South Sudan, meanwhile, said they would, as per the requests of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council, remove its security forces from the contested region in Abyei.
“We are not occupying any contested area”, said South Sudan’s minister of information Barnaba Marial Benjamin.
Reports of fighting, however, continue to emerge. On Saturday, Panakuach, a town near the border in Unity state, was bombed by the Sudanese aircraft while the following day saw the death of 21 people in Malakal, near the border, after South Sudan’s army clashed with a militia group backed by Sudan.
Despite becoming a country of its own for nearly a year, South Sudan is yet to come to an agreement with its parent nation on the demarcation of the border, the status of each nation’s citizens in the opposite country and the sharing of the revenue generated by the oil production.
The tension boiled over this month when South Sudan managed to capture the important oil-producing region of Heglig from Sudan. According to witnesses’ reports, the acquisition has since been retaliated with the bombing raids against the infant nation.
Both nations are in disagreement over the sharing of oil revenue. South Sudan may boast about having most of the oil wells but without the north’s facilities to export the oil and a well-established economy, generating revenue would be a difficult task.
Last week South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir visited China – a close investment partner for both adversaries – in hope of gaining an investment deal for an alternative oil pipeline that would export their oil through Kenya. The Chinese, however, proposed a counter offer of $8 billion “for development, telecommunications, infrastructure, roads, and agriculture”.