Sudan vowed on Tuesday to react with “all means” against a three-pronged attack it said South Sudanese forces launched against South Kordofan state.
“The government of Sudan announces after this attack that it will react by all means,” a statement on the official SUNA news agency said, warning of “destruction” in the South.
The statement came after Sudan carried out new airstrikes inside South Sudan and rival armies exchanged artillery fire in their latest round of fighting in contested border regions.
An Agence France-Presse correspondent in the South Sudanese frontline village of Tashwin heard heavy artillery shelling and multiple airstrikes lasting for around an hour, with one bomb dropped by aircraft landing less than a kilometre away.
The statement on SUNA claimed that South Sudanese forces backed by rebel groups launched their main attack in Sudan’s key oil-producing region of Heglig.
It did not specify which rebels but the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has been battling government troops in South Kordofan since June.
Sudan has also previously alleged that Darfuri rebels were operating in the Heglig area.
South Sudan has denied backing opposition groups in the north.
Clashes broke out two weeks ago between Sudan and South Sudan along their undemarcated and disputed frontier in the Heglig area, with each side blaming the other.
It was the most serious unrest since the South gained independence from Khartoum last July, after Africa’s longest civil war.
International fears have mounted of a return to full-blown conflict and the clashes led to crisis talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last week.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday accused the South of involvement in recent attacks inside his country but said Khartoum is nonetheless committed to negotiations. — Sapa-AFP