Sudan has continued its bombing of South Sudan, as South Sudan’s president said the attacks amounted to a declaration of war.
South Sudan said that Sudanese Antonovs dropped eight bombs overnight in Panakuac, where ground fighting had been going on since Sunday.
On Monday Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oil field in South Sudan, killing at least two people after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said the attacks by rival Sudan amount to a declaration of war on his country.
There has yet to be a formal declaration of war by either of the Sudans, and Mr Kiir’s remark, made during talks with China’s president Hu Jintao, signals a ratcheting up of rhetoric between the rival nations which have been teetering on the brink of war.
South Sudan broke away from its neighbour and became independent last year. The two countries have been unable to resolve disputes over sharing oil revenue and determining a border.
Talks broke down this month after attacks started between the two countries with South Sudan invading the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which Sudan claims it controls.
Following international pressure, South Sudan announced that it has withdrawn all its troops from Heglig but Sudan claimed its troops forced them out.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to press ahead with his military campaign until all southern troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.
China’s energy needs make it deeply vested in the future of the two Sudans, and Beijing is uniquely positioned to exert influence in the conflict given its deep trade ties to the resource-rich south and decades-long diplomatic ties with Sudan’s government in the north.
Both have tried to win Beijing’s favour, but China has been careful to cultivate ties with each nation. Like others in the international community, China has repeatedly urged the two sides to return to negotiations.