Sunday, May 22, 2011

South Sudan calls seizure of Abyei 'act of war' -- Sudans once again on brink of war

Northern Sudan's seizure of a contested border region is an act of war, a spokesman for the Southern Sudanese army said Sunday, raising fears that fighting over the town could re-ignite the civil war between north and south.

Northern forces with tanks occupied the disputed town of Abyei on Saturday night, scattering southern troops that were there as part of a joint security unit, said Southern officials and a UN spokeswoman. Both north and south claim the fertile region, which lies near several important oil fields.

Hollywood actor George Clooney set up a project to monitor the area by satellite, fearing it could be a flash point that could draw the region back into civil war.

The north's seizure of the town follows several days of fighting and bombing and drew immediate condemnation from the U.S. government.

"We didn't declare war," said southern army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer. "The (Sudanese ruling party) National Congress Party and the Sudan Armed Forces declared war on us." (read more)