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Al-Bashir vows to teach South Sudan “final lesson” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to drive out the South Sudan forces that occupied the disputed Heglig oil field last week. Utilizing hardline rhetoric, al-Bashir said that he would teach South Sudan a “final lesson by force” following its occupation of the oil field. These inflammatory statements were issued at a time when regional and international forces are attempting to defuse the tense standoff that has erupted between Juba and Khartoum. The most recent development saw South Sudan President Salva Kiir ordering the withdrawal of his troops from the Heglig oil field on Friday, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon described the South’s occupation as “illegal”. However Juba also asserted that it would do everything in its power to protect the sovereignty and people of South Sudan, renewing calls for international forces to be deployed to the conflict regions between the north and south, including the town of Heglig.

The UN had previously ruled that South Sudan’s seizure of the Heglig oil field in Sudan is illegal, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urging the south to immediately withdraw its forces to prevent border clashes from spiraling into all-out war. The UN Secretary-General said that Juba’s seizure of Heglig “is an infringement on the sovereignty of Sudan and a clearly illegal act.” He added “I also call on the government of Sudan to immediately stop shelling and bombing South Sudanese territory and withdraw its forces from disputed territories.”

Appearing at a large rally in North Kordofan whilst dressed in military uniform, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir all but declared war on South Sudan, saying “these people don’t understand, and we will give them the final lesson by force” adding “we will not give them an inch of our country, and whoever extends his hand on Sudan, we will cut it off.” Al-Bashir also stressed that “our main goal from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM [Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement]” adding ‘we call it an insect…trying to destroy Sudan; our main goal from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”

For his part, South Sudan military spokesman, Philip Aguer, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that al-Bashir has continually issued such threats since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, adding “what is new is that he has publicly announced his intentions to invade and reoccupy the South, after it achieved its independence from Sudan.” He added that al-Bashir comparing the people of South Sudan to “insects” serves as an indication that Khartoum is aiming to commit genocide against the people of South Sudan, asking ‘hasn’t al-Bashir’s thirst [for genocide] been quenched after he killed more than a million southerners during the war that lasted for more than 22 years, not to mention the second genocide in Darfur?”

Aguer also stressed that “what al-Bashir is saying is precisely what happened in Rwanda when the Hutu described the Tutsi as cockroaches and insects, and more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the subsequent conflict.” He also asserted that “we will confront al-Bashir’s threats, and we will not stand idly by, we will die as men, and he will not reach Juba without facing the SPLM army” adding “we are not Christ to turn the other cheek.”

Aguer also told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SPLM had never been defeated in battle over the 22 year civil war, “despite the fact that al-Bashir made use of mujahedeen from the Palestinian Hamas movement, as well as fighters sent by international terrorist chief Osama Bin Laden and even Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces.”

The South Sudan spokesman added “the SPLM army at this time is not weak; indeed it is in a stronger position than it was during the period of guerilla warfare, because it is now defending a sovereign state.”

For his part, US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, stressed that the White House is seeking an immediate end to the hostilities. He said “people are concerned about the situation there…I think they’re concerned about the escalation and fighting, but we remain engaged with both sides.” He added “we continue to, as we said, through [US envoy to Sudan] Princeton Lyman on the ground, as well as publicly here, call for both sides to get back to the African Union process.”.