Khartoum, May 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The chief of general staff of South Sudan’s military has pledged that within a few months the country will acquire anti-aircraft missiles to defend its territory from attacks by neighbouring Sudan.
When the South Sudanese military receives the missiles, it will “not have an issue with air defence”, the the Sudanese Tribune daily quoted General James Hoth Mai as saying at a meeting of high-ranking military officers.
South Sudan became the world’s newest independent nation in July last year. However, the country’s independence, which followed decades of civil war, has failed to resolve all issues with its northern neighbour Sudan and fighting still rages in disputed territories along the border.
The newly independent state currently has no anti-aircraft batteries or warplanes to defend itself from Sudanese air attacks.
In April, South Sudan forces entered the oil-producing border region of Heglig, which a 2009 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague included in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state.
Heglig accounts for 60,000 out of 115,000 barrels of oil produced in Sudan daily.
During recent battles in Heglig, the Sudanese air force carried out regular air attacks on the positions of the South Sudanese army on the border areas but also deep inside the South Sudan territory, the Sudan Tribune said.
The UN has said Sudan’s “indiscriminate” aerial bombing of South Sudan and attacks that harm civilians could be considered international crimes.