Dr. Riek Machar Teny addressing the rally in Juba [©Gurtong/ Juma Stephen]
By Lopu Moses
JUBA, 23rd April 2012 [Gurtong]
He was speaking to a mammoth crowd at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba yesterday afternoon where he said that elements in Sudan had continued to bomb Unity State and that there has been ground incursions on the South Sudanese territories.
Dr. Machar told the people that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) repulsed the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and that the government in Juba will not accept what he called a continuous attack from the elements in the Sudanese Armed Forces.
“Sudan has continued to attack us despite our withdrawal from Heglig and if they continue to do so, we might be forced to take over Heglig again,” he said. He added that the SPLA forces were yesterday attacked and had repulsed the SAF twice.
The Vice President called on Sudan to follow the path of peace but warned that the SPLA will retake Heglig if they continue with their aggression.
So far many States have contributed to supporting soldiers in Unity State and the Vice President has called on all citizens to contribute in kind.
He however clarified that the government in Juba isn’t interested in war but only to defend the South Sudanese territories. “Your government is not interested in war but rather in defending your land,” he said.
Meanwhile Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the government spokesperson said that the decision to withdraw was a sign of the path of peace that the South Sudanese have portrayed. He called on Khartoum to desist and urged their president to utter statements that can bring peace to the two countries.
South Sudan seized control of the contested Heglig which both countries claim lies on their territory but nearly two weeks later they withdrew amidst international pressure.
The country’s leaders have urged the two countries to show responsibility and avoid the possibility of leading the people of the two nations into war. This has however been turned down with the continuous reports of attacks and bombardments on Unity State.