The Chief of General Staff of South Sudan’s military, General James Hoth Mai, has pledged that within a few months the country will acquire anti-aircraft missiles to defend its territory from attacks by neighboring Sudan, the Sudanese Tribune daily reported.
When the South Sudanese military receives the missiles, it will "not have an issue with air defense," Gen. Hoth Mai said at a meeting of high-ranking military officers on Tuesday.
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 neighbor 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.
This 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 the 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's top human rights official last Friday said she was outraged by Sudan's "indiscriminate" aerial bombing of South Sudan and warned that attacks that harm civilians could be considered international crimes.