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Saturday, July 09, 2011

South Africa Soldiers Protect South Sudan's Independence Day

Johannesburg – South African soldiers were in Juba in southern Sudan on Thursday to help with security measures during celebrations to mark the creation of Africa’s newest nation on the weekend.

The Mail and Guardian newspaper quoted Consul General Gabriel Setlhoke as saying that South Africa felt that in order to ensure the safety of its large delegation travelling there, it needed to safeguard the entire event.

“We told the government of South Sudan that if we were to help, it must be something that the South Africans can take care of alone, not together with other countries which would be difficult to co-ordinate,” Setlhoke said.

“We said we would do it because it is critical for the staging of independence.”
The South African government was also asked to secure the new country’s airspace for the duration of the celebrations.

Residents in the south voted in a January referendum to break away from the north following a bloody civil war and will officially celebrate their independence on Saturday.

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