GlobalPost | Sudan and South Sudan: Border war still threatens
BENTIU, South Sudan — Just last week this town was bombed and nearby the armies of Sudan and South Sudan fought over the oilfields of Heglig.
Heglig is Sudan’s main oil producing area, but South Sudan also claims the area, and seized it on April 9.
It was war.
But the skirmishes were brief, as South Sudan pulled its troops back from Heglig.
Now there is a tense standoff, and a renewal of the border war threatens. Sudan has declared a state of emergency along the hotly contested boundary with South Sudan. Sudan has also ordered thousands of southerners living in the north to return to South Sudan. Troops are massing on both sides at numerous points along the 1,100-mile frontier.
The two Sudans are locked “in a logic of war,” according to African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki, and events on the ground validate this view.
The Rubkona barracks just outside Bentiu town, 50 miles south of the border and close to the scene of an air raid by Khartoum’s jet fighters on April 23, the ramshackle buildings, tree-lined roads and shaded muster areas are bustling with soldiers.
So is the military hospital where the wounded are treated.
On the road to the border, only army trucks and striding soldiers move north. In the other direction comes a steady stream of civilians. The lucky few have loaded their meager possessions on vehicles, but most carry cooking pots and mattresses in their arms, on their backs or on their heads.