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Sudan President Warns South Sudan His Forces Will 'Chop Off Any Hand' Trying To Take Land

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In this Wednesday, March 4, 2009 file photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends a graduation ceremony at an air force academy near Khartoum, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf, File)
In this Wednesday, March 4, 2009 file photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends a graduation ceremony at an air force academy near Khartoum, Sudan. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf, File)

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Sudan's president vowed revenge for any attacks by South Sudan against the north's territory, saying Thursday his forces will "chop off any hand" trying to take Sudanese land.

Omar al-Bashir also claimed his soldiers killed more than 1,300 South Sudanese troops during the 10-day fighting last month over the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which the south briefly captured. Heglig is claimed by the north and has since been reoccupied by Sudan.

Al-Bashir, speaking in a fiery televised address, also promised "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" policy in any future attacks by the south.

"We have fertilized the soil with their dead," al-Bashir said, adding his troops "will defend the country and chop off any hand stretching to take it."

Al-Bashir's warnings came a day after South Sudan accused Khartoum of resuming aerial bombardment of the south in violation of international calls for a cessation of hostilities between the two neighbors.

Khartoum has repeatedly denied it is carrying out a bombing campaign over southern territory, saying instead it is the victim of its southern neighbor's aggression.

The U.N. Security Council last month approved a resolution threatening nonmilitary sanctions against both countries if they do not halt the escalating violence and return to negotiations.

The African Union is now trying to help the two Sudans reach a settlement and avoid a return to all-out war. Although Sudan has endorsed the AU's roadmap to peace, it insists on the right to defend itself militarily.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan last year but has outstanding issues with the north over oil revenue sharing and the border.

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