News / Africa

South Sudan: SPLA Soldiers Hold Frontline Position

Alex Pena
​PANAKUAC, South Sudan - The border between South Sudan and Sudan is quiet, but tense after weeks of fighting in contested areas - which sparked fears of all-out war.  South Sudanese troops are at a standstill as they await talks on a U.N. Security Council resolution and commanders are awaiting orders on their next move. 
South Sudan: SPLA Soldiers Hold Frontline Positioni
|| 0:00:00
X
Alex Pena
May 17, 2012 4:32 PM
South Sudanese troops at standstill as they await talks on U.N. Security Council resolution; commanders awaiting orders on next move

The road to South Sudan’s front line with the north is a rugged one. Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldiers armed with AK-47's and machine guns line the almost two-hour drive from Bentiu to the town of Panakuac.  Since the SPLA fell back from the strategic oil town of Heglig in April, this area is as far north as they control.

SPLA Brigadier General Gabriel Puok says if there is peace his troops are prepared to go back to thebarracks.  If there isn’t, he’s prepared to fight.

Puok ties his sneakers as he prepares everyone to patrol the front line.  The others grab their sandals and walk to the northernmost point.  From there, soldier David Alirdo claims he can see Sudanese trucks operating just one kilometer to the north.

"Because we are on the frontline with them now, this is their defense, they are coming out always," he said.

Alirdo says most South Sudan soldiers feel they should be holding positions farther north. 

"The international community asked us to evacuate, according to their laws, so we moved from Heglig to here.  But it is not our title, our title is [what is up] ahead," he added.

The SPLA says its posture is defensive against Sudanese aggression.  While Khartoum has denied conducting aerial bombardment of the south, there is evidence of three bombs which fell on Bentiu.  One killed a 14-year-old boy.

SPLA spokesman Kernel Keller says this is about Sudan’s need for oil - most of which went to South Sudan after independence last year.

"For Khartoum, they want land.  They don’t want people here," said  Keller. "They don’t care about who is going to die and what will happen and so on because their interest is only the land where there is petroleum, minerals, resources, and all of this.”

U.N. and African Union mediators have tried to facilitate talks on border issues and sharing of oil revenues.  But all recent attempts have broken down.

South Sudan shut down all oil production in January after accusing the north of stealing oil going through northern pipelines, and charging exorbitant fees.

But South Sudan's Deputy Minister of Information Atem Yak Atem says that won’t stop his government from reaching out to its northern neighbor.

"It is in the interest of our two peoples to be good neighbors.  To cooperate, and we’ve gone almost to the point of begging them.  It is not out of weakness, but it is simply because we need stability within our country, and with our neighbors," he said.

Until diplomats get talks back on track, soldiers like Alirdo will stay put, waiting for their orders to either fall back, or move forward.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: thok chuni yok kuai from: jonglei state
May 19, 2012 11:28 AM
the problem between south sudan and north sudan need to be solve very soon because south sudanes people want to take big action because what they are doing to south sudan it,s not good for the two nation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid