The newly-independent country of South Sudan has accused its erstwhile compatriots, Sudan, of killing 17 South Sudanese civilians, in airstrikes aimed at the border state of Bahr el-Ghazal on Thursday. According to South Sudan's military spokesman, Philip Aguer, the victims were cattle herders.

Those who are killed are innocent civilians who are looking after their cattle, Aguer told AFP.

This is a hostile aggression that Khartoum has been conducting against the civilian population, Aguer told the BBC.

Sudan, meanwhile, has dismissed these allegations.

This information is completely incorrect, Sudanese military spokesperson Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in Khartoum. We have not entered or bombed any place in South Sudan and we have no targets inside South Sudan, he added.

A complaint was earlier filed with the United Nations Security Council and the African Union, by the government of Sudan, stating that a military convoy of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had entered South Sudan. The convoy was believed to have been carrying weapons and rebel fighters wanted by Sudan. The complaint had asked the South Sudanese to refrain from harboring suspects.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July, following which there have been numerous clashes along their common border.