South Sudan’s first lady on Friday said she is ready to mobilize women to join the country’s national army (SPLA) forces at the front lines, if the long north-south border is not demarcated by end of this month.
Sudan and South Sudan meetings at the level of a joint security and political mechanism failed last week to implement a buffer zone they agreed due to their difference over the disputed border areas. They parties have to resume talks on 19 June.
“If the border is not demarcated this month, we the women of South Sudan will all put on military uniforms; and go the front lines to fight,” Mary Ayen Mayardit said.
The first lady made these remarks while handed over food items to members of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) as part of efforts by the country’s citizens to individually or collectively give moral and financial support to the national army.
She said women of South Sudan currently have two battalions; the girls’ battalion and Shatta or red hot pepper, adding that they can be these two divisions can join the front line when called upon at any time.
“We the women of South Sudan are to go to the frontline, am ready to the front line to fight because we cannot leave our borders to others, this is border issue cannot be left at all,” she said.
Ayen, who was accompanied by staffs from her office, also lauded the SPLA forces for their commitment to continuously defend the nation from external aggressors, saying the entire South Sudan population remains in full support of them.
“Once again, I want to thank our SPLA troops wherever they are, for those of you who will be going to the frontlines, let them come to me, I will go with you,” the first lady remarked.
My message to those who are currently in frontlines, let them continue to defend this nation, we will join them,” she added.
The first lady, who was casually clad in a pink dress handed over the food items to Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, the SPLA deputy chief of general staff for administration in the presence of other senior army officials in Juba, the South Sudan capital.
Reacting on the recent oil shut down, the first lady equated the matter to a situation whereby an outsider intentionally comes and takes a meal specifically prepared for people in a particular home.
“If you prepare meal for your people, others cannot come and take it by force; the oil in South Sudan is ours. It doesn’t belong to Jalaba (Mundukuru). Munduku have no right to take our oil, they have stolen enough,” she said in reference to the North Sudanese government.
Meanwhile, the first lady further said she was no longer in good relations with her Sudanese counterpart, perhaps considering the current trend of events between Sudan and South Sudan.
“I was a friend to the wife of President Bashir [Omar Hassan] of Sudan, but now we are not friends anymore,” she said.
Last week, the Kenyan Commercial Bank (KCB) also donated SSP 200, 000 (about 40,000) to the SPLA, specifically meant to boost its under-funded military hospital. The move, bank officials said, was in line with the institutions corporate social responsibility to the community under the KCB foundation initiative.