UN rights urges probe into S.Sudan refugee camp air strikes

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The UN human rights chief called Friday for an independent probe into deadly air strikes on a refugee camp in South Sudan, stressing that those responsible for the attacks must be brought to justice.

"There needs to be an independent, thorough and credible investigation to establish the precise circumstances of this aerial bombing," said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"And if indeed it is established that an international crime or serious human rights violation has been committed, then those responsible should be brought to justice," she added.

Pillay also expressed alarm about the ongoing attacks in Sudan's South Kordofan state.

"This latest attack risks aggravating what is already an extremely tense and dangerous situation," she said, calling for an immediate halt to all attacks.

Earlier Friday, Pillay's spokesman said the air strikes could amount to an international crime.

South Sudan has accused Khartoum of carrying out the strike on a refugee camp in Yida town in Unity State on Thursday, which a local official said killed 12 people and injured more than 20.

Just hours before the reported raids, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir accused his northern counterpart Omar al-Bashir of trying to drag the new country back to war and seize its oil fields.

The UN refugee agency meanwhile said Friday that several bombs dropped by an aircraft hit the camp sheltering more than 20,000 refugees who fled violence in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan.

Condemning the attack, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said: "Two of the bombs fell within the Yida camp, including one close to the school.

"Fortunately there were no casualties in the camp and we are verifying the situation of surrounding communities."

© 2011 AFP

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