The US embassy in Khartoum said local militia were looting oil fields and conducting looting raids on Sudanese army installations, firing into communities near border with South Sudan
The US embassy in Khartoum said local militia were looting oil fields and conducting looting raids on Sudanese army installations, firing into communities near the border with South Sudan.
The militia included members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the South Sudan’s rebel group, which has been fighting to secede and in clashes with Khartoum.
According to a statement on the embassy’s Facebook page, further degradation of the humanitarian situation and looting of oil fields, gold mines and other economic resources will “unnecessarily endanger civilians”.
According to the embassy, clashes have been ongoing in the border areas between South Sudan and Sudan since 7 August, and the situation has “evolved into a full scale and uncontrolled military confrontation” involving “significant loss of human life, attack on civilian and humanitarian forces and broad military escalation”.
The statement said the decision to suspend diplomatic activities was for security reasons. It said the US is “deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation, especially at the border”. The embassy was closed because of fear of further militarisation and looting.
What is the violence?
The South Sudan government in Juba was reported to have welcomed the deployment of troops from its neighbour to help in suppressing “the rebels”.
South Sudan civil war: how human rights groups and aid workers have documented abuses Read more
Alfred Giorgio Locatelli, a political analyst at the Royal Holloway, University of London, told the Italian Press Agency ANSA: “Fighting has intensified in the Darfur areas after Sudan unilaterally asked the South Sudan government to send troops to confront an advancing SPLM-N guerrilla army, as is the custom between the two countries since 2013.”
Locatelli, author of Unidentified killings and fighting in Sudan’s border regions, added: “The consequences will be dire for civilians in East and North Darfur due to the humanitarian crisis and ongoing attacks.”
What is Sudan’s government saying?
In a statement, the Sudanese government said there was no fighting in its territory. It alleged that the UN peacekeeping mission, which was previously dispatched in East Darfur, was spearheading the attack by taking part in joint operations with the rebels “regarding a major attack on the border with South Sudan”.
South Sudan and Sudan have been fighting since 2013, when South Sudanese soldiers started fighting rebel groups from the Sudanese side of the border.
China, an ally of the Khartoum government, denounced “regrettable” reports of a massacre of refugees as conflicting claims were aired about fighting in Sudan’s remote border areas with South Sudan. South Sudanese forces accused the Sudanese army of shooting indiscriminately into civilian areas and said no casualties were suffered.