August 6, 2012 (JUBA) – The South Sudan army (SPLA) on Monday reiterated its commitment to defending its territorial integrity and respecting its constitutional obligations to protecting the lives and properties of its citizens from external threats and aggression.
At a function at which 600 new recruits graduated into the SPLA on Monday in New Kush, Eastern Equatoria, deputy chief of staff for moral and political orientation, Mbotu Mamur Mate said, “we have enormous challenges ahead of us as [an] army. This requires cohesion. It need unity and cooperation. Our moral should always be high so that we are able to execute our tasks with convenience.”
Mate thanked the new recruits for their courage throughout the training and described their graduation as symbolic of their “commitment and patriotism to serving this country.”
South Sudan’s deputy defence minister, Majak D’ Agoot was also in attendance. He praised the instructors and training staff on a job well done.
At similar events in Wau and Raja, Major General Andrea Dominic said the army was more than capable of defending all its territories.
“We have never failed our people. We have always shown that we are capable to defend territories of this country. No land can be invaded by force. They know us well,” said Dominic.
He thanked the new graduates for responded what he described as “a national call” to defend the country. He said the issue of border demarcation and the status of the contested border region of Abyei mean that the army must remain on standby.
Deputy chief of staff for administration, Pieng Deng Kuol, commended the performance of the army in the recent military engagements with the Sudanese army (SAF) adding, “I know you have done very well [...] but more needs to be done. As an army, what is needed from us always is success.”
In April the SPLA and SAF fought a brief border war over the disputed oil-producing region of Heglig. Despite seceding from Sudan over a year ago the border between the two nations has not been demarcated. The issue is one of many being discussed in negotiations between the two sides in Ethiopia.