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. 

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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid