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Sunday, January 23, 2011

North Sudan Reports Alignment in South Sudan Defense Forces

By Ngor Arol Garang

January 21, 2011 (ABYEI) - A top military officer from South Sudan's army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), on Friday denied media reports that they have signed an agreement with an armed militia group in the regional capital of Juba earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Khartoum-based Arabic daily, Al Ahram, reported that a political agreement was inked on in Juba between the SPLA and the militias of South Sudan Defense Forces, saying the latter was represented by Ashwang Arop.

However, colonel Phillip Aguer Panyang, spokesman of the Sudan People's Liberation Army in an interview with Sudan Tribune from the regional capital of Juba on Friday denied knowing any armed group called south Sudan defensive with which they have signed an agreement.

"No, we did not sign any agreement with any armed group this week. I am also not aware of the existence of any armed group called South Sudan Defense Forces. Who did they say was their leader?," asked Aguer.

The military officer said there are media in the north accustomed to manufacturing false information and conflicting reports against the Government of South Sudan, since it was formed in 2005.

  • The SPLA became the south's official army as part of a 2005 peace deal, which ended decades of civil war between north and south.
  • As part of the deal the south has just completed a referendum, which is expected to see the south separate from the north to form a new nation by July.
  • Many in the north are not happy that the oil-rich south is separating.
"There are media are in the north accustomed to manufacturing false information and conflicting reports against the government of south and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. This is one of them. They say anything without proof just to cause confusion with intention to create conflict," said Aguer.

He called on the media to be responsible and seek clarifications on unclear information and reports from concerned authorities before rushing it out to the public.

"There seems to be no responsible media in the north. They appear to have lost ethnics. Their reporting does not show any sense of responsibility. They are always bias in their reports about South Sudan and particularly when it comes to issues concerning SPLA," said Aguer.

The officer said a responsible media should always conduct proper verifications of any information obtained from their sources. "A responsible media must conduct proper verifications of any information they received from their sources before publishing it."

In 2006 the SPLA and SSDF signed the Juba declaration incorporating the SSDF into the SPLA, which under the peace deal was the only legal army in the south.

As part of the deal Paulino Matip became the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA.

The Rest @ Sudan Tribune

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