Bashir vows to oust South’s ‘insect’ gov’t
‘Our main target from today is to liberate South’s citizens from SPLM,’ al-Bashir says. AFP photoSudan President Omar al-Bashir threatened to overthrow South Sudan’s “insect” government, as world powers tried to pull the rivals from the brink of war after the South seized a key oil field.
“Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement),” al-Bashir said, adding that the southern regime cannot be called a “movement.” “We call it an insect... trying to destroy Sudan, and our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”
Al-Bashir was speaking at a rally April 18 in support of troops who hope to reclaim Sudan’s most important oil field, Heglig, from South Sudanese troops who seized it eight days ago. “In a few hours you are going to listen to good news from your brothers in Heglig,” he told about 3,000 youths.
Violence in Heglig comes after soldiers from Sudan and South Sudan clashed this week at a river dividing their two countries, leaving 22 dead. “Heglig will not be the end. The end will be in [South’s capital] Juba,” the South’s capital, said Bashir, whose audience sang songs about jihad, or holy war.
In the face of al-Bashir’s words, South Sudan called for negotiations. “We can only resolve this through talks with the African Union,” South Sudan’s Minister of Information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said. However, South Sudan has vowed to hold its positions in Heglig, despite air strikes.
Meanwhile, the U.N., the U.S. and the EU have criticized the South’s occupation of the oil field, equally denouncing Sudan’s air strikes against the South. “Given the escalation of violence over the past few weeks, given the rhetoric that’s being thrown about, we’re very concerned,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. China said it is greatly concerned about the escalating conflict. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said yesterday that China is ready to work with the international community to ease tensions.