29 December 2012

South Sudan to Focus On Defence After Attack On Northern Bahr El Ghazal

Wau — The South Sudan cabinet said on Friday defence of the country remains a top priority, announcing that "all necessary arrangements" have been put in place to fend off foreign aggressions and incursions, in the wake of an alleged attacks on Northern Bahr el Ghazal on Wednesday.

The government made the announcement after holding a cabinet meeting chaired by president Salva Kiir during which he gave a briefing about the visit of the Ethiopian prime minister, Desalegn Hailemariam.

In a statement broadcast on the state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV), South Sudan's Information and Broadcasting minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said cabinet unanimously agreed to make defence a top priority and passed a resolution condemning an attack in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

At least five people were reportedly killed following reports of aerial and ground attacks allegedly carried out by Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Wednesday.

The Sudanese army has denied the accusation, but admitted that clashes occurred between the southern army (SPLA) and Al-Rizigat tribesmen in the disputed region of Mile 14.

"The cabinet has deliberated a number of issues today. The president briefed the council [of ministers] on the visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister and the recent aggression by Sudan in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. During the deliberation chaired by the president of the republic, it was unanimously agreed that defence of the country should be the top priority," Marial said in a televised statement.

From now on, our priority will be defending our territories and all the necessary arrangements have been made, he added.

The Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Paul Malong Awan, on Friday visited the SPLA positions in Kiir Adem, Aweil North County. He was accompanied by top level military officers, including assistant deputy chief of general staff for operations, James Ajonga Mawut Unguec Ajonga.

"Governor Paul Malong came today [Friday]. He was accompanied by General Santino Deng Wol and General James Ajong Mawut Unguec Ajonga. They were coming to assess the security situation and to meet with us. They all stressed the duty of the SPLA to defend the country and to the protect lives of the citizens and their properties against foreign aggression," Kuol Athuai Hal, the commissioner for Aweil North county told Sudan Tribune Friday by phone.

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