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South Sudan to Shoot Down Unknown Planes

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Members and supporters of the Southern Sudan police as they escort a Referendum march through the southern capital of Juba, in this file photo dated Monday, August 2010. Southern Sudan is eagerly awaiting a January vote that could break Africa's largest country into two.  North-South negotiations have barely begun, though, and tensions are already rising, as the south accuses the north of playing a stall game designed to delay the vote.  (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
Members and supporters of the Southern Sudan police as they escort a Referendum march through the southern capital of Juba, in this file photo dated Monday, August 2010. Southern Sudan is eagerly awaiting a January vote that could break Africa's largest country into two. North-South negotiations have barely begun, though, and tensions are already rising, as the south accuses the north of playing a stall game designed to delay the vote. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

South Sudan's military has given orders to shoot down any aircraft that is not known to the government.

South Sudan voted for independence in 2011, but has been in civil war since 2013. Rebels opposing the government in the capital of Juba called for the end to the order.

The chief of staff of the Sudan People's Liberation Army announced the order Sunday.

The information minister said the Republic of South Sudan had evidence that some planes and helicopters brought weapons into the country illegally.

The army confirmed those claims Sunday.

"Some unidentified aircraft have been hovering in and out of South Sudan," said army spokesperson Colonel Philip Aguer. "They used some secret and illegal airstrips to drop some weapons and carry people illegally."

The no-fly area was established as the rebels and the government-led military disagree over the size of a rebel advance team. The rebels want to send a team of 650 members to Juba. The government intends to limit the team to 30 members.

Another media report claims the South Sudan government is not happy with a United Nations mission offering relief and food. In response, the order will ground all UN aircraft delivering food and supplies.

During the ongoing civil war, more than 2 million people have left South Sudan. Famine and drought have also left thousands in danger.

I'm Mario Ritter.

James Butty wrote this story for VOAnews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

hover - v. to float in the air without moving in any direction

airstrip - n. an area of land that is used as a runway for airplanes to take off and land

famine - n. a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat

drought - n. a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain

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