After a cross-border attack by Sudanese troops on a military base that left 18 fighters dead and 73 wounded, the United Nations warned that Sudanese air raids on a southern refugee camp could be an “international crime,” the Associated Press reported.
At least two bombs were dropped near the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan on Thursday, as relations between Sudan and its newly independent southern neighbor continue to deteriorate this week, CNN reported.
Liberation army members have clashed with the South Sudan’s military since it became independent in July, CNN reported.
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"We are very concerned that these bombs were dropped in an area where there are thousands of refugees who have gathered after fleeing the violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states," said the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, CNN reported. "It is essential that both parties immediately take all steps to protect civilian lives."
The BBC’s James Copnall was at the Yida refugee camp, which is in the oil-rich Unity State, when it was struck with aerial bombs. Copnall said he arrived at the camp Thursday when the second round of bombs hit. The BBC reported:
He says that just as a UN helicopter, carrying food aid, settled on to a makeshift landing zone at the camp, there was a deep and terrifying thud of a nearby explosion.
A large plane was spotted heading to the north, our reporter says.
Although residents of the refugee camp told the BBC it was an Antonov plane, often used by the government, Sudanese officials denied the claims.
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Many are becoming more and more concerned as aerial bombing nears refugee camps at the border.
"The Security Council should urgently expand the existing ban on offensive military flights over Darfur (Security Council Resolution 1591) to other areas of Sudan and South Sudan, and then enforce it aggressively,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, a human rights organization.
“Sudan has now expanded its aerial bombing across sovereign borders. This is a genuine and immediate threat to international peace and security. This impending crisis was precisely the kind of situation the United Nations Security Council was created to counter,” said Prendergast in an e-mail.
In a statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United States also expressed the same concerns, CNN reported.
"The United States demands the Government of Sudan halt aerial bombardments immediately," said the statement, CNN reported. "We urge the government of South Sudan to exercise restraint in responding to this provocation to prevent further escalation of hostilities."
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