Omar al-Bashir

An oil field that caught on fire in Heglig, Sudan on Sunday. An official says Sudanese jets bombed three areas in South Sudan's Unity State, including a major oil field. Antonov bombers accompanied by MiG 29 jets bombed the town of Abiemnom in Unity State and the Unity State oil field.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

RUBKONA, South Sudan — Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oil field in South Sudan on Monday, killing at least two people after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery, elevating the risk of all-out war between the two old enemies.

The international community urged Sudan and South Sudan to talk out their disputes, which include arguments over where the border lies and over ownership of oil resources.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Sudanese bombings and called on the government in Khartoum “to cease all hostilities immediately,” U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said.

Ban stressed again that the dispute cannot be solved militarily and urged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir “to stop the slide towards further confrontation and ... return to dialogue as a matter of urgency,” the spokesman said.

But al-Bashir vowed Monday to press ahead with his military campaign until all southern troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.

The bombs fell from two MiG 29 jets onto Rubkona’s market with a whistling sound, turning stalls where food and other household items are sold into fiery heaps of twisted metal.

The burned body of the boy lay flat on his back near the center of the blast site, his hand clutching at the sky.

South Sudan military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said two were killed in that attack and nine wounded.

Aguer said Antonov bombers accompanied by MiG 29 jets also bombed Abiemnom in Unity State and the Unity State oil field. He said Abiemnom is a two-hour drive from Rubkona. Amid poor communications, the extent of damage at the oil field was not immediately known, nor whether there were casualties. Fighting between ground troops, which started Sunday, was still ongoing in Panakuac, Laloba and Teshwin, Aguer said.

In Rubkona, trucks packed with South Sudanese troops sped off in the direction where the bombs landed as the soldiers fired at the Sudanese jets.

“The bombing amounts to a declaration of war,” said Maj.

Gen. Mac Paul, the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence for South Sudan.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday the U.S. strongly condemns Sudan’s military incursion into South Sudan, and called for the immediate halt of aerial and artillery bombardment in South Sudan.

“We recognize the right of South Sudan to self-defense and urge South Sudan to exercise restraint in its reaction to Sudan’s attack in Unity State,” she said.

Sudanese armed forces launched an attack Sunday more than six miles inside South Sudan’s border, even though the south announced on Friday it was pulling its troops from the disputed oil town of Heglig to avoid an all-out war. South Sudan had invaded Heglig earlier this month, saying it belonged to the south.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July last year after an independence vote, the culmination of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war that killed more than 2 million people.d

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s president said Thursday that the nation will not withdraw its troops that this week entered a disputed border region with Sudan.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir spoke to parliament in the midst of escalating clashes along the border with Sudan. He said the country’s military would also re-enter another disputed area, Abyei, currently occupied by Sudan if the United Nations does not urge Sudan to withdraw.

In New York, Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said if South Sudan did not withdraw, Sudan would “chase them out, and not only that, we would hit deep inside the South.”

“I assure you, this occupation will not last for long,” Ali Osman said.

The U.N. Security Council met in public Thursday to read out a statement demanding “a complete, immediate and unconditional end to all fighting” between Sudan and South Sudan.

The council statement, read out by presiding U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, insisted that both countries redeploy their forces 10 kilometers (16 miles) away from a border that they both recognized last year.

Troops from South Sudan on Wednesday captured the oil-rich border town of Heglig that is claimed by Sudan, whose troops withdrew under the onslaught. Kiir said that South Sudan’s military forces, the SPLA, had also advanced past Heglig after occupying it.

“They pursued them up to the so-called Heglig. But these forces did not stop in Heglig, there was not fighting in Heglig,” he said.

Heglig has been the focal point of more than two weeks of clashes between the two nations. Both sides claim the area, but Sudan operates Heglig’s oil facilities, which account for nearly half of the country’s daily production. The town is 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the disputed region of Abyei, whose fate was left unresolved when South Sudan split last year from Sudan.

The U.N. Security Council demanded the withdrawal of South Sudan’s military forces from Heglig and an end to aerial bombing by Sudan of South Sudan. It also urged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kiir to hold a summit to resolve their conflicts.

Fighting along the north-south border has been near constant over the past two weeks. On Thursday, South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing the capital of Unity State, Bentiu.

SPLA spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said that Antonov aircraft belonging to Sudan dropped five bombs on a bridge linking Bentiu to neighboring Rubkotna. The two towns comprise Unity State’s most populated area.

“This is an indiscriminate bombing,” and according to initial reports one civilian was killed and four were wounded in the attack, Aguer said.

Ali Osman, the Sudanese ambassador, said any report of Sudan bombing “is just fiction.”

President Kiir said he had received numerous appeals from the international community to withdraw SPLA troops from the disputed territory, including a call from United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.

“Last night I never slept because of the telephone calls,” he said. “Those who have been calling me — starting with the U.N. secretary-general yesterday — he gave me an order that I’m ordering you to immediately withdraw from Heglig. I said I’m not under your command,” Kiir said.

The military advance by South Sudan into territory it claims but which is internationally recognized as Sudan’s brought swift condemnation from the United States and Britain. Both nations, along with the U.N. Security Council, urged South Sudan to withdraw from the town of Heglig and condemned the bombings of South Sudan territory by Sudan.

Kiir said he also urged the U.N. secretary-general to re-engage Sudan on the disputed territory of Abyei.

“We withdrew from Abyei. Bashir occupied Abyei and is still there up to today,” Kiir said. “I told the secretary-general that if you are not moving out with this force of Bashir, we are going to reconsider our position and we are going back to Abyei.”

Late Thursday, South Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Agnes Oswaha, told reporters that there will be no withdrawal from Heglig unless and until some sort of mediation of the various disputes with Sudan is in place, and a neutral peacekeeping force is deployed in the area.

Fighting erupted in Abyei between Sudan and South Sudan May of last year, just months before South Sudan formally declared independence from Sudan.

The region was to hold a referendum in January to decide whether it stays with Sudan or joins a newly independent South. But the vote was postponed indefinitely amid disagreements over who would be eligible to vote.

The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, most of whom are still waiting to return.

The continued clashes have dimmed hopes for a resolution between the two countries on a host of issues left over from their July split, including oil-sharing, citizenship issues and the demarcation of the border.

Associated Press writer Peter James Spielmann contributed to this story from the United Nations.