South Sudan Announces Pullout of Oil-Rich Heglig

South Sudan
S.S. Information Minister Barnaba Benjamin

Sudan announced on Friday that its armed forces defeated South Sudan army and regained full control of oil-producing region of Heglig, shortly after Juba announced immediate withdrawal of its army.

South Sudan’s information and media minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, on Friday told reporters in Juba that the country’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, had ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) from Heglig.

“The Republic of South Sudan announces that SPLA troops have been ordered to withdraw from Panthou (Heglig),” Benjamin said.

“An orderly withdrawal will commence immediately, and shall be completed within three days,” he added.

Shortly after South Sudan’s announcement, Sudan’s defense minister Abdel Rahim, Mohamed Hussien appeared on state television to declare the liberation of Heglig.

Hussein said that Sudan’s army (SAF) liberated the area after defeating SPLA forces.

Heglig was occupied by the SPLA last week, leading to the worst standoff between Sudan and South Sudan since the latter seceded last year.

The outbreak of military confrontations followed months of failed negotiations between Khartoum and Juba over border demarcation, citizenship and oil exports.