Sudan war escalation: State of emergency declared after ‘foreigners found in South’

April 29th, 2012

PressTv- Sudan has declared a state of emergency along its borders with South Sudan amid escalating border tensions and growing fears of an all-out war between the two neighbors.

According to the local SUNA News Agency, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir has issued a resolution declaring the emergency in the border states of South Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar.

The move technically suspends Sudan’s constitution and imposes a trade embargo with the South.

The resolution will also allow the president and anyone with his mandate to establish special courts which handle criminal and “terrorist” cases.

Related: NewsRescue- Israel’s new ally in Africa, South Sudan captures disputed Heglig oil fields

The developments come after Khartoum’s army spokesman, al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, announced on Sunday that Sudan had captured four foreigners who were investigating the debris from the recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan in the oil-rich region of Heglig.

The foreigners were identified as a Briton, a Norwegian, a South African, and a South Sudanese.

“It is now confirmed without any doubt that South Sudan used the help of foreigners in their attack on Heglig. These foreigners were doing military work such as spying out the areas… They had military equipment… They have a military background,” the official told reporters after the four were flown to Khartoum for “more investigation.”

Juba’s troops occupied Sudan’s main oil region of Heglig for 10 days. On April 20, Khartoum announced that the Sudanese army had forced Southern Sudanese soldiers out of the area.

A SPLA (South Sudan People's Liberation Army) soldier sits next to a machine gun on a vehicle outside an old Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) compound in Heglig, on April 17, 2012. {PressTv}

Earlier in the day, Sudan expressed opposition to calls for the UN Security Council to become involved in efforts to end weeks of border clashes with South Sudan.

“Sudan confirms that it rejects any efforts to disturb the African Union role and take the situation between Sudan and South Sudan to the UN Security Council,” Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Karti said on Saturday.

The African Union has also asked the two neighbors to end hostilities and engage in peace talks.

Sudan accuses South Sudan, which seceded from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011, of supporting anti-government rebels operating in the Darfur region and the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with the north. The new oil-rich nation is one of the least developed countries in the world, with one in seven children dying before the age of five.