NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Omar al Bashir’s government says that will conscript all its citizens to fight in an all-out-war with South Sudan following an escalating oil conflict.
Sudan’s Ambassador to Kenya Kamal Ismail Saeed said on Tuesday Khartoum would sustain the war ‘at all costs’ until Juba withdraws its troops from a disputed oil field in Heglig.
“As an independent state, we have a right to defend ourselves… we have a right to defend our territory,” he said.
“When it comes to war, all people go to fight until we finish fighting then we come back,” the tough-talking ambassador said.
“So it is not just a matter of [the] professional army fighting, it is teachers, professors, medical doctors, engineers, captains, ministers, MPs whoever. We all go to fight. When we finish fighting then we come back to our normal lives, this is our defence policy and it has proved to be a very effective way of repulsing aggression.”
Saeed said Khartoum was not afraid of getting into war with the South because it has enough experience in fighting and does not worry about the resources involved.
“We will continue attacking them until they leave our territory. They are the aggressors, we are not afraid of war and its cost,” he said and bragged that Khartoum had recently discovered new oil fields.
“We have recently discovered oil fields which will be used to compensate on the cost we will incur. We are going to utilise all the resources to reclaim our territory because we want to liberate our land,” he said.
Khartoum and Juba have been trading accusations over the disputed territories but Bashir’s government has now said ‘enough is enough.’
“Those guys think in a very different way, they are not reasonable at all; they do not have any moral or legal capacity to occupy our territory,” he declared.
Khartoum has rejected the conditions set aside by Juba in order to pull out of the disputed areas.
“You have heard them say they will only leave when the UN monitors come. They changed that and said they will leave when we stop attacking them. This is not their territory and they must move because you don’t occupy somebody’s house and then you start saying you will only leave when the police comes. That is not acceptable at all, and that is why we are saying we are going to defend our territory,” he said.
Khartoum’s options appear limited, according to its ambassador in Nairobi.
“Despite the high cost of war, our options at the moment are very limited. We will have to fight. Sudan will not spare any resources in reclaiming its territory, they are more than 70 miles inside our territory and they must get out.”
He said Khartoum has nothing to do with Abyei, because “that is a different territory. Why should they bring troops to our territory? We will continue fighting until these guys realise it is expensive to remain there.”
And unless Juba agrees to withdraw its troops, the ambassador said it will not be business as usual.
“Peace will only prevail once we have a rational government in the South. For now, it is simple, let them withdraw and we will be ready to negotiate. This is our defence policy,” he said.
He denied that Sudan had been bombing areas occupied by the South as alleged by its Minister for Information Barnaba Mariel Benjamin.
“We have not bombed them… we have attacked them on the area they have occupied which is our territory. It is our right to do that. No country in the world will sit back and watch its territory being violated. Not in this century,” he said.
Saeed said Sudan had already incurred losses as a result of the illegal incursion on its territory.
“They will have to pay for those losses,” he said.