Posted: Thursday 5th June 2014 at 5:06 am

Ghanaian troops In South Sudan are safe – Deputy Minister assures


Out-going Deputy Minister of Defence, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, says of government is committed to ensuring the safety of Ghanaian soldiers who are on peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi who led a high-powered government delegation to negotiate with the Sudanese government on the release of a container-load of arms and ammunitions seized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) told myjoyonline.com “families,friends and other relatives as well as well-meaning Ghanaians must be assured that the 300 troops on United Nations Mission  in Sudan (UNMISS) whose ammunitions were seized are safe.”

The South Sudanese authorities intercepted arms and ammunitions in a container which was mistakenly labeled as construction materials by the UN.

The container was meant to be delivered to the military base of the Ghanaian soldiers in the world’s newest country but was intercepted by the Sudanese authourities.

Mr.Okletey Terlabi said after successfully negotiating with the South Sudanese government for the release of the items the delegation moved the base of the Ghanaian soldiers to assured them of government’s support in their interest and welfare.

MEETING WITH SOUTH SUDANESE GOVERNMENT
The government delegation met the South Sudanese government on May, 19 at the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs headed by sector Minister, Kuol Manyang Juut and Generals of the SPLA.

Mr Terlabi, who was the leader of the Ghana government delegation, said their visit was to show appreciation to the government of South Sudan for accepting Ghana to contribute troops to UNMISS.

He said the visit was also to assure the people of South Sudan that Ghana would continue to be impartial in their operations in the country.

The Minister of Defence and Veterans affairs of South Sudan, Hon.Kuol Manyang Juut, said the restriction of the movement of the UNMISS containers from Rumbek to Bentiu was not an act against Ghana.

”For us, we had nothing against the Ghanaian contingent but rather with UNMISS for not  following the regulations”, he explained.

The Minister called for greater cooperation between the two countries.

He said the crisis had created a positive environment for deepened cooperation between the two countries.

He said their government  was very much interested  in defence cooperation, particularly the exchange of Defence Attaché’s, training opportunities for the SPLA and the exchange of military visits.

BACKGROUND TO SOUTH SUDAN CONFLICT
On 9 July 2011 Sudan split in two creating the world’s newest nation – the Republic of South Sudan.

 South Sudan’s independence was the final stage of a 6 year peace agreement ending decades of civil war.

As the South gains statehood, crucial issues such as border demarcation, sharing of debt, and oil revenues and the use of the North’s pipeline remain unresolved.

Fighting in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Abyei threatens the stability of the peace, and there is ongoing tensions and violence on both sides of the border.

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