KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said the northern army would continue its military operations in the border flashpoint state of South Korfodan, state news agency SUNA said Friday.
In his first comments since returning from a trip to China Bashir seemed to contradict comments by a northern official this week that north and south had agreed "in principle" on a ceasefire in the northern oil state.
The northern army has been fighting in South Kordofan armed groups allied to South Sudan which is due to become an independent state on July 9.
"He directed the armed forces to continue their military operations in South Kordofan until a cleasening of the region is over," SUNA quoted Bashir as telling worshippers during Friday prayers.
The campaign would only stop after the army had arrested Abdelaziz el-Helu, the candidate of the southern ruling party Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the governorship vote there in May. He had accused Khartoum of rigging the vote he had lost.
Bashir called Helu an outlaw that needed to be brought to justice for comitting crimes such as killing innocent people, SUNA said.
Wednesday, a northern state minister said north and south had agreed "in principle" at talks in Ethiopia to hold a ceasefire in South Kordofan pending details that needed to be worked out.
(Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing)