2nd December 2023
Make a Donation

Row brews over Juba airport protection

Author : | Published: Monday, August 21, 2017

The Presidential Press Secretary says a contingent of the Regional Protection Force deployed at the Juba International Airport has been asked to pull back.

Two weeks ago, the first batch of the troops arrived in the country from Rwanda.

They are part of the 4,000-strong force that was authorized by the UN Security Council last year.

The RPF is mandated to protect key installations such as the airport and as well as facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and use all means to prevent attacks from any armed groups.

Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny says the fact that the forces had deployed at the airport is undermining the sovereignty of the country.

“The contingents that came to Juba made their way to occupy part of the airport of Juba International Airport,” Ateny told Eye Radio.

He argued that protecting the airport is not the mandate of the RPF.

“The mandate that they are implementing has no one single article speaking about the RPF coming to control any airport in South Sudan and therefore that kind of attempt to control Juba International Airport was not authorized and was not part of their mandate and therefor they were asked to withdraw from it.”

However, in response, UNMISS told Eye Radio in an email that the RPF is mandated by the UN Security Council under Resolution 2304 – 2016 to “protect the airport to ensure the airport remains operational, and protect key facilities in Juba essential to the well-being of the people of Juba”.

Mr. Ateny alleged that a British plane bringing RPF weapons was also asked to leave Sunday because it did not seek landing permission from the government.

“As a matter of International law, no [government] on earth can allow other planes to land in its territory without prior permission,” he added.

“So they were asked to go back to Malta or where they came from.”

Mr. Ateny further UN flights have also been suspended across the country over the expiry of their permit.

But according to UNMISS, the decision to deny security clearances was related to the arrival of the first contingents of the Regional Protection Force and flights have resumed.

“As is usual procedure, UNMISS applies in advance for clearance to fly out of respect for the laws of South Sudan as well as to protect the safety of its personnel and aircraft. Some applications for clearance were declined last week which resulted in the grounding of UNMISS flights on Friday and Sunday,” partly reads the emailed statement.

“United Nations Mission in South Sudan flights have resumed today after being temporarily grounded due to the non-issuance of security clearances.”

It said details of the continued deployment are being discussed with the government of South Sudanese.

Support Eye Radio, the first independent radio broadcaster of news, information & entertainment in South Sudan.

Make a monthly or a one off contribution.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!