South Sudan’s Government Orders Sudan Rebel Forces to Leave

(Bloomberg) -- South Sudan ordered all Sudanese rebel troops to leave its territory in line with an agreement with its northern neighbor against supporting insurgents, Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said.

“We have ordered them to leave South Sudan and go back to Sudan or hand over their weapons and go to refugee camps,” Juuk said by phone Friday from the capital, Juba. “If they agree to go to the refugee camps, we will collect the guns and call Sudan to inspect them and hand them over because we would not need” the firearms.

Despite its obligations under international law and repeated agreements with Sudan to end such support, credible reports still indicate South Sudan is sheltering and assisting armed Sudanese opposition groups, according to U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner. The presence of Sudanese armed opposition forces in South Sudan and their involvement in South Sudan’s internal conflicts destabilizes both nations, he said. Continued support also violates terms of an agreement for resolving South Sudan’s conflict.

“We urge South Sudan’s leaders to redouble their efforts to meet the commitments they recently reached with Sudan under which both sides agreed to end support for armed opposition groups on either side,” Toner said in a statement published on the department’s website.

South Sudan withdrew its soldiers from the frontier with its neighbor in line with the agreement and is planning a joint border patrol with Sudan, Juuk said.