Sudan's parliament has branded South Sudan's government an "enemy" and called for a swift recapture of a disputed oil-producing region, as rising border tensions pushed the old civil war foes closer to another full-blown conflict.
South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan last July, seized the contested Heglig oilfield last Tuesday, prompting its northern neighbour to vow to recapture the area by "all means".
Addressing the Khartoum parliament on Monday, speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir accused the South's ruling party - the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) - of posing a security threat to the north.
"We declare that we will confront the SPLM until we end its rule of the South, and will work to gather our resources to realise this aim," he said. "We are in a battle that does not finish with the recovery of Heglig, but with an end to the danger that comes from South Sudan."
The assembly went on to adopt a resolution describing the SPLM government as "an enemy", but it did not spell out the full implications of the decision.
South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin called the decision "ludicrous". "How can they call us an enemy?" he said.
South Sudan insists Heglig is rightfully part of the South and says it will not withdraw its troops unless the United Nations deploys a neutral force to monitor a ceasefire.
It accused Khartoum on Sunday of reducing the oil facility "to rubble" in an air strike, an accusation denied by Sudan.
"If any damage has occurred in Heglig it may have been on the part of the army of South Sudan," Sudanese Information Minister Abdallah Ali Masar said.
UN camp targeted
Meanwhile, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has confirmed that a UN peacekeepers' camp was among targets bombed by Sudanese warplanes.
Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman for the UNMISS, said on Monday that there had been no casualties in Sunday's attack.
But a South Sudanese minister said that seven civilians had been killed and 14 others wounded in an attack on Mayom, while the region of Bentiu was also bombed.
Gideon Gatpan, the minister, said that two bombs had fallen in the UN camp, destroying a generator and a radio.
Bombing raids on Sunday also killed nine civilians in South Sudan's Unity border state, Gatpan said.
Sudanese soldiers captured
Colonel Philip Aguer, South Sudan's military spokesman, said on Monday that Sudanese attacks had also hit oil wells in Heglig, which has been occupied by South Sudanese forces.
A spokesman for Sudan's military denied that its forces were conducting bombing raids anywhere inside South Sudan.
He also confirmed the capture of a number of Sudanese soldiers who had been wounded in Heglig.
South Sudan said on Sunday that it had also captured at least 14 Sudanese soldiers.
Fighting has been raging for almost a week since South Sudan captured Heglig, which provided half of Sudan oil needs.
The African Union as well as the UN have condemned the South and asked it to withdraw its troops from Heglig.
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|William A. Cook|