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South Sudan army denies possessing chemical weapons

September 19, 2014 (JUBA) – The spokesperson of South Sudan army (SPLA) has dismissed as "enemy propaganda" reports that it recently received chemical weapons.

The South Sudanese army (SPLA) spokesperson, Phillip Aguer (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“Of course we are not surprised of these reports which are basically white lies. They are part of the usual activities of enemies of peace and stability of South Sudan. They are never happy if they have not fabricated something to tarnish the image of the SPLA and the country”, Col. Philip Aguer said on Friday.

“We do not have a factory for chemical weapons and we did not order it. So where does these reports that we have received it in Juba comes? It is just a usual propaganda of these enemies”, he added without further elaborating.

Those loyal to the Juba government have been critical of reports, which tend to portray president Salva Kiir’s regime in bad light given the conflict that has engulfed the nation.

South Sudan presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny also accused the Sudanese media of being hostile both to his government as well as the national army.

“The claim by the rebel through Al Intibaha Newspaper that chemical weapons have arrived in Juba is simply untrue. Our army functions like that of any democratic nation state with the purpose of protecting our citizens. We are in the process of building our nation, establishing defense and food security. Although we endeavor to reform our army to become professional army, we do not need chemical weapons," Ateny said.

"The peace process is our priority, not building an arsenal for war”, he added.

Recently, however, there has been widespread calls for arms embargo on South Sudan after it emerged that the young nation purchased military equipment from China in July.

(ST)