General News of Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Deputy Defense Minister, Ebenezer Terlabi will lead a government delegation to South Sudan on May 14, 2014 to hold talks with the government over the seizure of weapons belonging to Ghanaian soldiers on peacekeeping in the war ravaged country.
The Ghanaian troops have been without weapons since they arrived in that country in February.
Containers carrying their ammunitions were seized when the Sudanese authorities noticed the consignments were weapons and not construction materials as labeled. Defense Minister, Mark Woyongo, who confirmed this to Joy News says all operational materials for the three hundred soldiers have also been seized.
He says the military high command and some members of parliament are joining the Deputy Defense Minister to South Sudan to ensure the release of the weapons to the Ghanaian troops.
"Tomorrow, I am sending my deputy, the army commander, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense to take up the issue", Mr. Woyongo indicated. According to the defense minister, the UN, which was responsible for shipping the containers to South Sudan, mislabeled the containers as construction materials.
Mr. Woyongo said when the containers were finally released and scanned by the Sudanese authorities, they realized that the containers were loaded with arms and ammunitions and therefore became suspicious and prevented the Ghanaian troops from opening the boxes.
"So, for some time now, the soldiers are without their [ammunitions and logistics]", he noted.
Concerned about the security and safety of the Ghanaian soldiers, Mr. Woyongo indicated that the Ghanaian team will meet with the minister of defense in South Sudan and have further discussions with the UN representatives in South Sudan.
"I am hoping that the issue will be resolved soon", he assured, adding that the Ghanaian team will be assuring the Sudanese authorities that the Ghanaian soldiers are using the ammunitions for peace keeping purposes.