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UN confirms Sudan air raid on border with south

by Staff Writers
Juba, Sudan (AFP) Dec 13, 2010
The United Nations on Monday confirmed that Sudanese warplanes had carried out an air raid in a border area of south Sudan, less than a month before a planned referendum on southern independence.

UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) spokesperson Kouider Zerrouk told AFP that after a report by the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) on Wednesday of aerial bombing along the border, UNMIS sent patrols to assess the situation.

"After verification, it was established by the CJMC members that air attack took place in the vicinity of Timsaha in Western Bahr al-Ghazal and no casualties have been reported," Zerrouk said.

The CJMC is the Ceasefire Joint Military Committee set up under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between north and south that ended Africa's longest-running civil war.

Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the former rebel SPLA, had accused the Khartoum government of trying to disrupt the January 9 independence referendum, which was also set up under the 2005 peace deal.

Aguer dismissed reports that the northern army was hunting down rebels from the war-torn region of Darfur, which adjoins the south.

The army has previously accused the south of aiding Darfuri rebels, claims denied by the SPLA.

"Both parties need to continue using the CPA ceasefire mechanism as the best and most efficient tool to verify report on ceasefire violations, including allegations of support to rebel groups operating in each other's side," Zerrouk said.

A meeting of the CJMC was due to take place in the southern capital of Juba on Tuesday, the UN official added.

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