War fears for the Sudans

South Sudan yesterday accused Sudan of bombing a disputed major oil field “to rubble”, but Khartoum denied that and said it would not negotiate until Juba withdrew all its troops from the same area.

South Sudan’s information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told reporters in Juba the aerial bombardment of the facility had caused serious damage.

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Sudan’s ministry for information denied the charge, however, telling Al Jazeera television that Sudan “did not and will not” destroy the oil facilities.

The seriousness of the allegations underscores how close the two former civil war foes are to the brink of a full-blown war as the worst fighting since Juba declared its independence in July continued apace.

South Sudan seized control of the Heglig oilfield last week – drawing a vow from Khartoum to recapture the region.