Sudan arrests four foreigners in Heglig

Sudan arrests four foreigners in Heglig

Sudan arrests four foreigners in Heglig

One of the four foreigners is escorted off an airplane in Khartoum. AFP photo

Sudan said three foreigners and a South Sudanese national arrested by authorities in a disputed area on the border with South Sudan had military hardware and an armored vehicle in their possession but a representative for one of the foreigners said yesterday that they were on a mine clearing mission.

The arrests are a sign of the increased tension along the disputed border, which has seen a spike in clashes between Sudan and the newly created state of South Sudan in recent weeks. The violence has brought the two nations, already at odds over demarcating the border and dividing oil revenue, to the brink of war. Sudanese army spokesman Col. Sawarmi Khalid Saad said on state television late April 28 that the four, a Briton, Norwegian, South African and South Sudanese, had military backgrounds. The four were arrested in the oil-rich region of Heglig. In Oslo, a Norwegian humanitarian organization said yesterday that one of its employees, 50-year-old John Soerboe, was among the four.

Meanwhile, Sudan declared a state of emergency along its border with South Sudan yesterday, in a move that imposes a trade embargo on the South and suspends the constitution, official news agency SUNA said.

Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.