South Sudan said Sudanese forces attacked a military outpost, killing one soldier and wounding four others.
The Sudanese military carried out ground and helicopter attacks in Upper Nile state on Feb. 2, South Sudan’s army spokesman, Philip Aguer, said today by phone from Juba, the capital. Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled didn’t answer four calls and a text message sent to his mobile phone.
South Sudan’s army deployed more troops to the area to thwart what Aguer said was a possible bid by northern forces to occupy agricultural land that lies near the Adar oil field. South Sudan gained control of about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s 490,000 barrels a day of crude output when it declared independence from Sudan in July 2011.
“If they can occupy that place they can advance to the oil fields in that area,” he said. “That may possibly be their intention.”
Talks between the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan last month failed to reach agreement on ways to implement a demilitarized border zone.
South Sudan shut down its 350,000 barrel-a-day crude production last January after accusing authorities in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, of stealing $815 million of its oil. Sudan said it took the crude to recoup unpaid transportation and processing fees.
That dispute and others, including differences over border security, brought the neighbors to the brink of war in April.
The two countries also face a stalemate over the disputed region of Abyei. The area is contested by the Ngok Dinka people, who are settled there and consider themselves southerners, and Misseriya nomads, who herd their cattle into the area in the dry season and are supported by Khartoum.