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Sudanese troops are marching towards Heglig – Al-Sawarmi

April 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese military spokesperson al-Sawarmi Khaled announced Friday that Khartoum troops are marching towards Heglig, which has been under the control of South Sudanese army - SPLA - since three days ago.

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The spokesperson for the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad (Photo: Reuters)

Juba said they were forced to push the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) out of the border town area after repeated attack against its positions in Unity State. But President Salva Kiir said later the oil rich area is part of South Sudanese territory and refuses to pull his army out of it.

Speaking to the press, Al-Sawarmi said that SAF have started its counteroffensive in the outskirts of Heglig town stressing that they will cleanse it within hours of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The Sudanese military spokesperson further accused Darfur group the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of taking part in the attack besides the South Sudanese army.

Yesterday, the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur stated it was not participating in the SPLA attack on Heglig pointing out that they want to topple the regime while the South Sudan wants to defend its alleged rights on that land.

Al-Sawarmi also said they control now all the border of Darfur states with the South Sudan to prevent rebels from crossing to South Sudan adding they crushed a group of rebels belonging to Minni Minnawi.

Speaking to Reuters from Juba, the SPLA spokesperson Philip Aguer said he has no reports from the ground on the recent developments but stressed that their army is ready to "to defend itself and its territories."

Since yesterday several sources told Sudan Tribune about the imminent riposte of the Sudanese army as SAF command was pressed to counter attack after their failure to explain the fall of the strategic town in the hands of South Sudanese army.

South Sudan has been under huge international pressure to pull out of Heglig after it seized the area on Tuesday.

(ST)