In an interview with the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat, Aqoer reviewed
the southern military as well as plans to prepare for independence. The
spokesman said the military was procuring weapons from a range of sources
and denied reports that Israel has provided trainers.
"If we have a relationship with Israel, then we will show that we have
nothing to be ashamed of," Aqoer said.
[On Feb. 4, at least six people were said to have been killed in
military clashes in the Upper Nile state. Officials said soldiers from the north
and south employed mortars and machine gun fire in the battle in Malakal.]
The spokesman said the southern military would comprise a defensive
force rather than a guerrilla unit. He said the military of 2011 differed
sharply from the insurgency force that fought the Khartoum regime in 2005.
Since 2006, the militias that comprised the Sudanese People's Liberation
Army have been organized into a southern military. Aqoer said all elements
of the southern military have been trained and follow a formal chain of
"I think we are on our way to create an army structure, and over the
last five years we have taken reasonable steps because the goal is clear to
us," Aqoer said on Feb. 3.
The spokesman acknowledged that the Khartoum regime maintained a much
larger military than the south. Aqoer said the south does not have the money
to buy such platforms as main battle tanks or combat helicopters.
Instead, the southern military was said to have acquired utility
helicopters designed for search-and-rescue as well as air transport
missions. He did not disclose plans to purchase either combat fixed- or
Aqoer said the southern military was expecting a confrontation with the
Bashir regime. He said the Sudanese Army has been ordered to organize
pro-Khartoum militias to destabilize the south, particularly in the Upper
"We expect that to happen soon," Aqoer said.