Sudan’s Defense Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein says the Sudanese forces have “liberated” and taken control of the main town in the Heglig oil region.
“Our troops were able to liberate Heglig town by force, and captured it at 2:20 pm (1120 GMT) today,” the Sudanese official announced on state television on Friday.
“The troops moved towards Heglig carefully so as not to destroy what remains of the infrastructure,” he added.
The announcement came shortly after South Sudan said on Friday that its troop would withdraw from the disputed region.
“Our enemy suffered heavy losses in people and equipment,” the Sudanese defense minister concluded.
Tension between the two neighboring states escalated after the South seized the oil-rich town along with its oil fields last week.
A historic peace agreement between North and South Sudan signed in 2005 paved the way for an independence referendum in January 2011, in which southerners voted almost unanimously to secede.
South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011, after decades of conflict with the north. The new oil-rich nation is one of the least developed countries in the world, where one in seven children dies before the age of five.