South Sudan army says it will fight regional security force if it enters country

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The South Sudanese army will fight foreign troops that attempt to enter South Sudan, Lul Ruai Koang, the SPLA spokesperson told Radio Tamazuj.

The African Union and IGAD, a regional peacekeeping body, both proposed sending a regional security force to South Sudan to separate the government and opposition after fighting last week.

Lul told Radio Tamazuj that President Salva Kiir has repeatedly rejected the proposal.

“We implement what is said by the president,” Lul said. “President Salva Kiir Mayardit said he does not want even a single soldier to enter South Sudan. So the SPLA is repeating the same thing, if a single soldier attempts to come here by force, then we will fight against that force,”

South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, reaffirmed in an interview with Radio Tamazuj that the government categorically rejects sending of any regional troops into South Sudan without government approval. Ateny said additional foreign troops without government approval would be an “invasion of South Sudan”.

“Deployment of more troops in South Sudan serves as violation of our sovereignty, so we reject the deployment of more foreign troops, if they come from any side whether from African Union or elsewhere, they would be considered as invaders,” Ateny said.

Ateny said the government is still calling on the First Vice-President Riek Machar to return to Juba to continue with the implementation of the peace agreement. Machar has said he will not return to Juba unless peacekeepers are deployed in the capital.

Kiir’s spokesperson also said that the government requested the international community and the African Union to send a peacekeeping force of 20 soldiers to protect Machar instead of sending additional troops.