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South Sudan rejects protection force from outside region

South Sudan’s government has rejected the deployment of regional protection troops from outside the region, according to a spokesperson for President Salva Kiir.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday, Ateny Wek Ateny said the government agreed to the deployment of regional troops in South Sudan, but rejected any troops from outside the region.

Ateny, who is also the presidential press secretary, said they are still rejecting the deployment of the regional protection force with the capacity to place Juba International Airport under its mandate.

“We rejected the protection of the airport before and we are still rejecting it, because it is not in the mandate of the regional forces. We have not asked anybody to protect our airport, this is one of the symbols of our sovereignty and it cannot be given to foreign troops to protect it,” he said.

Last week, the outgoing UN peacekeeping chief said the first units of a long-delayed regional protection force for South Sudan will be deployed within a few weeks.

Ladsous pointed out that the first batches to arrive for the regional protection force will be from Nepal, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The deployment of the 4,000-strong force was decided after the government and rebel forces resumed fighting in July 2016. The new force would add to the 13,000 UN peacekeepers already in South Sudan.

Photo: South Sudan President Salva Kiir speaks to citizens at Juba International Airport on Sunday August 10, 2014

©Alleastafrica and Radio Tamazuj

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