African nations have opened an investigation into claims by Sudan and its neighbor to the south of supporting rebels operating against the other state, the African Union has said.
The AU, East African Community and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) launched an ad hoc investigative mechanism in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on July 22.
In June, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ordered the stoppage of oil transfer from South Sudan through his country, claiming the government of President Salva Kiir is supporting rebels in Sudan.
Juba however denied Khartoum’s accusations and in turn accused Sudan of propping up rebels in the southern regions.
The committee, comprised of three senior military officers, will start the six-week mission ahead of Khartoum’s deadline for the closure of pipeline transferring South Sudanese oil by August 7.
“The launch of these mechanisms underscores the seriousness with which the African Union and IGAD regard relations between Sudan and South Sudan,” the AU stated, adding, “Since 2010, Africa has been working tirelessly to promote two mutually viable states, and these current allegations threaten this objective, and in fact pose a threat to regional peace and security.”
The developments came after Juba halted its oil production in January 2012, as tensions over transit fees and disputed territory escalated.
South Sudan however resumed its oil production in April, following a deal between the two sides, which lasted only two months.
South Sudan seceded from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with Khartoum.