March 26, 2018 (JUBA) – Juba has warned neighbouring Sudan for allegedly deploying its troops at Kuek, north of Upper Nile state.
- Soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) redeploy to form a new Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) battalion with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) under the terms of an agreement on Abyei (Photo: UN/Tim McKulka)
The South Sudanese army (SPLA) spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang claimed its military intelligence was aware of the heavy presence of the Sudanese army (SAF) along its border with Sudan.
He said Sudanese troops moved with their heavy equipment along the border, and this remains a threat to South Sudan’s sovereignty.
“Where there is movement of manpower with equipment of combat service support, it raises an eyebrow,” Koang told reporters in Juba.
The army spokesperson, however, said, South Sudan would respond to any form of provocation from its northern neighbour’s military.
In September 2012, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among others.
The two countries in March 2013 signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements. However, the execution of the agreements didn’t go according to the plan.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9th, 2011 following a referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should remain a part of the country or become independent. 99% of the southern voters chose independence.
Relations between the two nations soured after South Sudan’s independence following a series of disputes over a number of issues and accusations of support to rebel groups.
Meanwhile, Koang claimed rebel forces allied to the exiled former first vice president Riek Machar and other armed opposition carried out attacks in the Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions.
The armed opposition, he claimed, also carried out attacks on Nasir town, the administrative headquarters of Latjor state on 21 March.
The same fighters, he further alleged, returned on Sunday launched another attack from three different directions but were repulsed.
Koang claimed Kalageny in Fashoda was attacked and captured from the army by rebel after it came under attack from joined forces loyal to the former agriculture minister, Lam Akol and Riek Machar.
The armed opposition’s deputy spokesperson, Col Lam Paul Gabriel, however, said their forces clashed with the government forces who attempted to pass through areas under their control with the view of wanting to open and allow movement of the civil population.
“This morning at about 8:00am the regime’s forces left their trenches and attacked our positions in Morsak and Sokare, Kajo keji in an attempt to forcefully open the road from Kajo keji to Panyume. The fight is heavy and still ongoing as I write”, said Lam in a statement.
“This came as a result of a meeting held by the regime’s Governor of Yei River Emmanuel Adil and the SPLA-IG [government army] senior officers in Kaya on 17/03/2018”, he added.
Lam claimed Governor Adil and the regime’s forces have planned to militarily engage their forces in Keji kaji –panyume, Lasu –ombasi, Morobo -lujulo-ombasi Morobo-panyume- yarebe, Pakula-yarebe before the next phase of the peace talks resume.
“This is a clear sign that the regime is not ready for a peaceful solution to this conflict created by Salva kiir”, he stressed.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between force loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels led by Machar since December 2013. The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost over 2 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who fled to neighbouring nations.