Home | News    Tuesday 19 October 2010

South Sudan calls for immediate withdrawal of SAF forces in Unity state


By Ngor Arol, Garang

October 18, 2010 (JUBA) - Authorities from oil-producing Unity state in south Sudan have called for the immediate withdrawal of forces belonging to the Sudan Armed Forces of the government in Khartoum.

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Sudanese soldiers participate in a state-orchestrated rally in the capital Khartoum, Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The south is due to vote in January on whether it wants to become an independent nation. Most of Sudan’s oil wealth either side of the north-south border, with most of it lying in the south.

Tensions are rising as the vote approaches. Both sides, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), who have governed the south since a 2005 peace deal and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) who control the Sudan Armed Forces, have accused the other of amassing troops on the border.

Simon Mayiik, a senior member of the SPLM told Sudan Tribune in Juba on Monday that there has been an increased deployment of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) troops in Parieng County, Unity state.

“They must be withdrawn immediately if the National Congress Party has no intention to return the country back to war,” said Mayiik a senior member of the southern ruling party who attended the recent Southern Political Parties’ Conference as an SPLM delegate from Unity state.

Mayiik, accused President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of being behind the deployment of the SAF into southern territory.

“I am told by several credible sources from within the northern army that he (President Bashir on October 14, 2010, issued an order instructing [the] ministry of defense to reduce deployment of Sudan Armed Forces in the central and northern states and increase deployment into southern territory at strategic places. The order also instructed the army to collaborate with any of the active southern militia group.”

The official further said that the deployment of the SAF in southern territory was part of a plan by the National Congress Party to forcefully keep the country togther.

“Several attempts to unite the south with the north on voluntary basis have failed. This was why President Bashir regretted recently for having signed this peace. And because he wants unity by all means, he has now embarked on an alternative plan to achieve it by sending forces he commands as commander in chief to provoke return to war so that they continue benefit from our resources if war resumes,” said Mayiik.

Stephen Miabek Lang, commissioner of Parieng County, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the SAF have increasingly strengthened their original troop numbers.

Soldiers belonging to the SAF have increasingly been deployed "beyond [their] territorial jurisdiction in the area,” he said warning that this would escalate tension between the two regions if it was not addressed urgently.

Commissioner Lang called on the international community to quickly exert pressure on National Congress Party to withdraw SAF from southern territory.

Echoing Mayiik’s assessment, Lang also believes that the presence of forces belonging to the SAF in the south shows that the NCP was ready to return the country to war. The UN estimates that around 2 million people lost their lives in Sudan’s north-south civil war, which lasted for 22 years.

There are fears that tensions on the border of north and south, large parts of which have still not been demarcated, could trigger renewed conflict.

According to Lang, the SAF used to have no more than a battalion in Parieng county, but it had increased to “five times the previous number”. The new forces who had entered southern territory he said were equipped with modern weapons.

The SPLM official said that main areas of new SAF deployment in Unity state are in Kaloch, Bambo, Warabet and Gong Riak.

All these areas, said Lang, are far away from the 1 January 1956 north-south border Sudan inherited from Britain when it achieved independence.

“They are very far and deep inside southern territory,” he said.

The SAF deployment in the in Parieng county, Lang said, was a clear and “unacceptable” violation of the security arrangement protocol of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the conflict.

He called on the international community, especially those involved in the CPA to assist the parties in implementing the remainder of the peace deal.

The commissioner commended local people for not reacting violently, adding that he had brought the issue to the attention of the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s office in Bentui, the capital of Unity State.

Lang told Sudan Tribune that UNMIS had asked him to verify his complaints but they have forwarded them to the UNMIS head office in Khartoum.

An UNMIS official in Bentui confirmed that the complaints had been forwarded to Khartoum to get approval to visit the areas in question, said the official who declined to be named.

As well as the southern independence vote, the contested oil region of Abyei will decide simultaneously in a parallel referendum whether it wants to remain in the north or become part of what could be a newly-independent south Sudan.


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  • 19 October 2010 05:35, by Magos

    Well , when you seen that tensions are rising ,where is your SPLA forces? As Unity state Authorities where is you action ? I think ours guns as SPLA are not bleeding with water,Therefore the calling for the immediate withdrawal of Khartoum forces is not solution to this problem .You have to increase your SPLA forces in north-south border to look what is going on there with the Sudan Armed Forces , and you have to remember Bashire, this war should not be like others wars in Sudan as John Garang De Mabior said Sudan will never be the same because South Sudan Army is strongest than others armies in Sudan refered it to what has been indicated by proprty Isach.I think everyone was awared about that God gifts to South Sudanses people .

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  • 19 October 2010 07:33, by DASODIKO

    Let then send their forces to Halaib to defend North Sudan land from Egyptian grab, intead of keeping them to disturb the referandum of South Sudan.

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  • 19 October 2010 11:55, by Akuma

    What purposes are they still doing in Southern Sudan since there is peace already in Southern Sudan. They should move away because Southerners need not to be immidated during referendum days.

    Southern Sudan government need also to deployed their troops if United nations don’t want to withdraws Sudan Army Forces in Southern Sudan, and if there is any out break of war in the country, UN must be blamed for it.

    Can staying 0f SAF make referendum attractives. No!

    They must go.................to Khartoum and leave oil fields to Southerners to control.

    Dr. Akuma

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  • 19 October 2010 12:41, by okucu pa lotinokwan

    The result of war is not good,let us avoid it.SAF forces if the make mistake by doing things by force they will face the consquences but it should not happen.


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  • 20 October 2010 02:57, by Deng Ateny Lueth

    so now what is next, khartoum has intended to repeat war again inside south sudan. bringing troop in to the Unity State is unacceptable. it is not only violation of CPA peace agreement. it is totally an overturn of agreement, meaning declaration of war period. it is now upto President Kiir whether he wants war to be fought again in the midst of our vulnerabe people, or we should meet the enemy in the midway. i think khartoum has been inspired by example of Sir lanka. but that is elusive example if it is tried on our case.

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