7 March 2014

South Sudan: Juba Denies Requesting IGAD Troops to Protect Oil Fields

Photo: UN
Two UN peacekeepers killed in action have arrive in Juba for a memorial ceremony

Juba — A South Sudanese official on Saturday described as "incorrect" media reports that Juba had requested the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) countries to deploy troops to protect its oil fields.

Ateny Wek Ateny, the spokesperson for the presidency told Sudan Tribune that the proposal came from individual member countries of the East African regional bloc.

"What has been attributed to me to have said in Khartoum is incorrect. My statements were recorded and I have the audio. What has been said is not what I said. It is a misrepresentation of the statements I made before our ambassador and the other officials who were at the press conference with me," Ateny clarified.

"I did not say the government of the republic of South Sudan had asked for deployment of troops from IGAD member countries. I said the government of the republic of South Sudan had received a proposal from individual IGAD member countries seeking to deploy troops to protect oil fields," he stressed.

Ateny, however, said his government was still studying the proposed idea before any decision was taken.

The presidential spokesperson also claimed he was misquoted about the security situation in the capital, Juba when asked by a Khartoum-based journalist.

"I was asked about security situation in Juba, because there was impression that it is not secure. I told them I live in Juba and the security situation there is like here in Khartoum. If you live in Khartoum you do not feel any threat of war but if you go to Darfur and other parts of this country, you feel the war", Ateny told Sudan Tribune in an exclusive interview on Saturday.

The official was reacting to statements attributed to him at a press conference in the Sudanese capital during a visit he undertook as part of efforts to advance his government's version of the conflict which broke out in the new nation last year.

Ateny, who was accompanied by South Sudan army spokesperson, Philip Aguer, also visited the Egyptian capital, Cairo and later Nairobi, Kenya on a similar mission.

Up to 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced when violence broke out in Juba on 15 December and later extended to three of the country's 10 states, while an additional close to 200, 000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.

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