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South Sudan deploys troops along border with Sudan

September 25, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan army said it has deployed battalion of troops along it border with Sudan following repeated rebels raids on its territory.

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Soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) redeploy to form a new Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) battalion with the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) under the terms of an agreement on Abyei (Photo: UN/Tim McKulka)

The move, army spokesperson Col. Philip Aguer said, comes in awake of a series of attacks by rebels who allegedly plan and execute their activities from its northern neighbor.

“The SPLA had deployed troops at the borders between South Sudan and Sudan following the attempt by the rebels to capture Renk and to advance to oil fields,” Aguer told reporters Thursday.

He said they received reports that Sudan was disarming rebels that fled after losing battle for control of Renk in Upper Nile state, but insisted on confirming this.

Sudan and South Sudan currently share one of the longest borders, which are yet to be demarcated. Already, an African Union High Level Implementation Panel led by former South African, president Thabo Mbeki is mediating between the two nations on several unresolved issues.

The SPLA on Sunday paraded alleged war captives on the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV), claiming that the prisoners were captured during recent clashes in Upper Nile state between government forces and the rebels.

Aguer claimed the rebel fighters were given a Sudanese flag to hoist it in the event of decisive rebel gains in the area.

Video footage of the three captives dressed in Sudanese military uniforms was also broadcast.

However, James Gatdek Dak, the spokesperson for rebel leader Riek Machar’s dismissed the episode saying it was concocted and designed to smear the good name and objectives of the SPLM-in-Opposition.

“This is a desperate negative propaganda by the enemies of peace. It is an attempt concocted and designed to try to smear the name of the SPLM [in opposition] and its objectives,” Dak said on Tuesday in response to the allegations.

Dak further said the allegations aimed to mislead and rally the South Sudanese public and the international community against the cause of the freedom fighters.

Thousand have been killed and about 1.3 million people displaced by the conflict that has raged on in the country since mid-December last year. In the meantime, efforts to amicably resolve the conflict through peace talks continue to move at a very slow pace.

The United States and European Union have already imposed sanctions on senior military officials from the two warring sides for obstructing the ongoing peace process.

(ST).