South Sudan Accuses Khartoum of New Bombings

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Sudanese warplanes and long-range artillery bombarded South Sudan border regions Thursday, defying a U.N. Security Council ultimatum to end hostilities or face possible sanctions, the South's army said.

"Their aircraft dropped bombs and artillery was fired targeting an SPLA (Southern army) base...this is an indication of preparation for a ground attack," said Southern army spokesman Philip Aguer.

The U.N. body on Wednesday demanded fighting between the arch-rivals stop within 48 hours.

The attack could not be independently confirmed, and Khartoum's army has repeatedly denied a wave of air strikes that has hit the South's oil rich Unity border state in recent weeks.

Sudan and South Sudan have edged to the brink of all-out war in weeks of bloody clashes, which peaked in the South's seizure of the key Heglig oil field from Khartoum's army, before pulling back after international condemnation.

However, clashes and air strikes by Sudanese warplanes have continued since then, prompting the Security Council's ultimatum in New York late Wednesday.

Aguer said six bombs were dropped by MiG fighter jets on the Southern frontline position at Panakuach, while warplanes and long range artillery bombarded an army base at Lalop, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) back.

"The SPLA there are preparing for an attack, they are ready to defend their positions," Aguer added. Troops and tanks from both sides have dug into fortified defensive positions along their volatile border.

The last ground attacks were on Tuesday, when troops clashed in the South's Unity state.

The U.N. council ordered the two sides to restart African Union-mediated peace talks within two weeks. The resolution threatens additional non-military sanctions if either side fails.

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