Sudan's top military officer said yesterday that Libya's daily air raids on Sudanese border villages stopped, at least temporarily, five days ago, but he added that his country still faces an "imminent threat" from its radical Arab neighbor, Washington Post correspondent Jay Ross reported.
First Vice President Abdel Magid Hamid Khalil told a press conference that Libya has positioned along the Chad-Sudan border "all offensive weaponry," including Soviet-built tanks, armored personnel carriers, rockets, mortars and helicopters.
He declined to give any numbers for personnel or equipment that Libya has moved to the border since its forces intervened in Chad late last year to put down a civil war. Western diplomats estimate that about 1,200 Libyan troops are there. The tense border situation has taken on East-West significance since the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat two weeks ago.
The United States has warned Libya against expanding its military activities to Sudan. Washington also has promised to accelerate delivery of $100 million in military equipment to the government of President Jaafar Nimeri.
In a series of interviews in Cairo last week, Nimeri warned of a Libyan invasion and said the U.S. had made a commitment to protect Sudan from attack. Later Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. described Nimeri's comment as "somewhat overdrawn" and insisted that no specific commitments were made. Some Western analysts believe Nimeri has played up the Libyan threat to gain Western support and to divert attention from economic difficulties.
Sudanese officials say that Libyan planes had been bombing the border area for a month, allegedly to attack Chadian guerrilla forces.