June 18, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s state of Eastern Equatoria has contributed hundreds of bulls to the national army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), in response to calls to assist the military as tension on the young country’s northern border with Sudan continues.
The two nations fought a brief border war in March and April this year over the disputed oil region of Heglig or Panthou. Both nations launched nationwide recruitment and mobilisation campaigns to prepare for the event of a return to full-scale war.
A 2005 peace deal allowed South Sudan the right to secede just over a year ago.
South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, formed the National Mobilization Committee under the chairmanship of his deputy, Riek Machar Teny, to mobilise human and material resources as well as morale support to the SPLA following the border clashes.
The clash over the disputed oil-rich area resulted in South Sudan’s army (SPLA) capturing and occupying Heglig for ten days.
The SPLA’s Division Four in Unity State, under the command of General James Gatduel Gatluak, said that they managed to dislodge 25,000 troops of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the area.
When the SPLA withdrew they claim to have taken over 120 vehicles captured from SAF. Juba says it retreated due to international pressure. Khartoum claims that it forced the SPLA to withdraw.
Although the fighting has stopped and negotiations have resumed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the two parties have continued to mobilise their populations for any eventuality.
On Monday the Governor of Eastern Equatoria state, Louis Lobong Lojore, reported his state’s first phase of contribution to the SPLA in Juba to the Vice President, Riek Machar.
Eastern Equatoria has given the military 397 bulls, two camels, 168 goats and sheep and 233,000 South Sudanese Pounds (around $87,000) as well as hundreds of sacks of various food items.
Governor Lobong also informed the Vice President, who was also accompanied to the inspect the donated bulls on the outskirts of Juba town by the deputy minister of defense and veterans affairs, Majak Agoot, that thousands of young men in his state were ready to join the army.
Machar commended the state for the contributions, which he immediately handed over to the accompanying minister of commerce, industry and investment, Garang Diing Akuong, who is the chairman of the country’s logistics committee.
He also urged the people of Eastern Equatoria to do business in livestock by supplying Juba, situated in neighbouring Central Equatoria State, with meat. The Vice President also encouraged Eastern Equatoria to promote agricultural activities.