25 September 2012

South Sudan: SPLA and UN Troops Witness Airdrop in Jonglei State

Juba — United Nations peacekeepers on Monday said they witnessed an airdrop in remote part of South Sudan's Jonglei state, but could not confirm who carried out the act or what the dropped consignment contained.

The incident comes barely a day after South Sudan army (SPLA) accused Sudan army of backing rebels loyal to renegade David Yau Yau, who are fighting in the region.

Phillip Aguer, the SPLA spokesperson on Sunday told Sudan Tribune that Sudanese military aircraft airdropped about eight parcels of weapons to the rebels, who he added, later Likuangole town in Jonglei before they were repulsed by the army.

He said the provocation, which Sudan denies, sends wrong signals to the ongoing talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"There are always some elements in Khartoum who remain opposed to the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan. Their actions, as we have often seen, are always contrary to what the leadership of both countries is trying to achieve in the interest of peace," said Aguer.

Kouider Zerrouk, the UN spokesman in South Sudan told Reuters that their peacekeepers witnessed a white fixed-wing aircraft drop seven or eight packages, about three kilometres from Likuangole town on Saturday morning.

"The mission is not in a position to confirm who was in the aircraft or what was dropped," he added.

The two incidents, come as South Sudan's Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omer Al Bashir meet in Addis Ababa to find ways of resolving all outstanding post-session issues between the two neighbours.

Sudan and South Sudan fought over two decades of a bloody civil war, which ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). A referendum held six years later saw South Sudanese overwhelmingly for separation, leading to South Sudan's independence in July last year.

The two nations, however, remain locked up in negotiations on several outstanding issues, including borders, and the disputed areas including Abyei.

South Sudan took 75% of oil production when it seceded from Sudan last year, but a dispute over oil transportation fees between the two early this year, forced the young to shut down its oil production which represents 98% of South Sudan's annual budget

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