Sudan President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to “liberate” the people of South Sudan from their “insect” rulers in the wake of recent border clashes.
In a fiery speech at a youth rally at his party’s headquarters on Wednesday, Bashir said:
“Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement), and this is our responsibility before our brothers in South Sudan.”
The president accused South Sudan’s government of trying to destroy its northern neighbour, the Agence France Presse reports, adding: “Our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”
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Since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 the world’s newest country has been ruled by the former rebel SPLM.
Concerns are growing that increasing conflict between the two East African countries – the worst since South Sudan’s independence last year – may lead to all-out war.
Clashes on Tuesday north of Aweil along the Sudan/South Sudan border left 22 dead, the Associated Press reports, while last week South Sudan seized the Heglig oil field from Sudan, prompting the parliament in Khartoum to denounce its old civil war foe as an “enemy” and drawing criticism from the UN, the US and the EU.
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During his speech on Wednesday Bashir predicted “good news” from Heglig with a few hours, but also suggested that tensions between the two countries would not end until the SPLM collapsed:
“The story began in Heglig, but it will end in Khartoum or Juba,” he said, while an official from the Sudanese foreign ministry said Sudan would end South Sudan’s occupation of Heglig “by hook or crook,” the BBC reports.
A UN envoy, Princeton Lyman, was headed to Sudan Wednesday to press for calm between the sides as the UN Security Council discusses imposing sanctions on the countries, according to Al Arabiya.
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