Sudan Parliament labels South ‘enemy’

Sudan’s Parliament voted unanimously on Monday to brand the government of South Sudan an enemy, after southern troops invaded the north’s main oilfield.

“The government of South Sudan is an enemy and all Sudanese state agencies have to treat her accordingly,” the Parliament’s resolution said.

After the vote, parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim El-Tahir called in the legislature for the overthrow of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which rules the South.

“We announce that we will clash with SPLM until we end her government of South Sudan. We collect all our resources to reach this goal,” he said.

World powers have urged restraint after fighting began with waves of aerial bombardment hitting the South, whose troops last Tuesday seized Khartoum’s main Heglig oil region from Khartoum’s army.

It is the most serious clash since July 2011 when South Sudan separated after an overwhelming “yes” vote under a peace deal that ended 22 years of civil war.

When the South became independent, Khartoum lost about 75% of its oil production and billions of dollars in revenue, leaving the Heglig area as its main oil centre.

Total production shutdown
Tuesday’s attack caused a total production shutdown, Ahmed Haroun, the South Kordofan governor, said last week.

Legislators said those responsible for the loss of a region which accounted for about half the country’s oil output should be held accountable.

“How did we lose Heglig in a matter of hours?” Samia Habani, a Khartoum MP, asked in the chamber. “This is something unacceptable.”

Alfa Hashim, an MP from Darfur in the country’s west, said the seizure of Heglig was “something rare in the history of Sudan’s army” and someone must be found responsible.

Some have called for the resignation of Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against civilians in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

A number of MPs sought a suspension of the constitution and elected government in South Kordofan state, which includes Heglig, to give the military a free hand to fight the South.

The latest unrest follows clashes around Heglig that broke out on March 26.

Although South Sudan disputes that Heglig belongs to Sudan, the area is not included in the roughly 20% of the border officially contested. — Sapa-AFP

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