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Sudan’s army says approaching Heglig oil field

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Laaska News Apr. 15, 2012

KHARTOUM, April 14 (Xinhua) — The Sudanese army announced on Saturday evening that it is approaching Heglig, the country’s biggest oil field which has been occupied by South Sudanese forces since Tuesday.

Al-Sawarmy Khalid Saad, a spokesman of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) said in a statement that it is still fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) from South Sudan near Heglig, an oil-rich town close to the border between the two neighbors.

“We are now in the Heglig region, a few kilometers from the main town and the oil field, and the fighting is going on between the two sides,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the SPLA said earlier on Saturday that Sudan’s air forces had bombarded some oil fields and a number of its positions.

Philip Agur, a spokesman of the SPLA, told Xinhua on phone that Heglig as well as its surrounding areas were also bombarded, which included Khersana, another disputed area between the two.

Earlier, reports from Juba quoted South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar as saying that fighting took place on Friday 30 km north of Heglig.

According to the 1956 borderline, Heglig lies within Sudan’s territory. However, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said last month that the town belonged to his country, a claim denied by both Khartoum and the African Union.

The pan-African body along with the UN called for an unconditional withdrawal of the SPLA, which has been occupying Heglig since Tuesday.

The SPLA has shut down the oil wells in Heglig, which produced half of Sudan’s crude oil with a daily output of 115,000 barrels.

Despite the occupation, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ruled out a military offense into the territory of South Sudan, vowing to settle the conflicts on its own soil.

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(Xinhua)

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