January 13, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudanese peace partners have agreed to establish one pilot project for the troops’ cantonment and training for the future unified national army, said the SPLA-IO spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel.
In line with the security arrangements agreed in the revitalized peace pact, the parties have to disengage troops and establish assembly points and cantonment sites within thirty (30) days of the signing.
However, three months after the peace agreement, the parties failed to launch the most important step in the transitional period arrangements due to the lack of the needed funds, as forces in cantonment shall receive non-military logistical supplies including food, shelter and access to medical care.
In an interview with Radio Miraya aired Sunday, Gabriel said the Joint Defence Board (JDB) agreed in a meeting held on 8 January to start the implementation process, despite the lack of international support, taking into account that the entire responsibility for funding of the security arrangement rests with the government.
“We cannot wait for what is not going to be there, Gabriel said alluding to the awaited international support.
“So they decided to start with a pilot project in Yei River State. They identified Moroto as a training site then the cantonment site of the SPLA-IO and SSOA in another position in Tendile located in Morob County,” he added.
He further said the SSPDF and SPLA-IO will identify between 1000 to 1500 combatants for each one of them and they will be taken to Moroto for training to form the unified army of South Sudan.
Gabriel also disclosed that the JDB soon will decide to replicate this project in other areas pointing that the matter was already discussed between the parties.
According to the SPLA-IO spokesperson, the parties agreed to form 11 divisions of the army, 3 divisions for the national security and around 3 divisions for the national police including other organized units.
Further divisions will be set up in the future but this is just for the beginning now, he asserted.
The formation of the unified forces which had to start at the beginning of the pre-transitional period aims to ensure coherence and harmony among the new army and prevent clashes during the 30-month transitional period as it was the case in July 2016.