May 9, 2019 (JUBA) – The SPLM-IO denied reports about troops recruitment carried by its military top commanders saying it was part of a propaganda campaign aiming to tarnish its military leadership.
The peace partner was reacting to claims that Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, the SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff who is believed to be in Biel State and Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam, the Deputy Chief of General Staff for operations are mobilizing and recruiting forces into the SPLA IO ranks and file.
The revitalized peace agreement bans the recruitment of soldiers and training of late recruits which are seen as a violation of the ceasefire agreement.
Lam Paul Gabriel SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson in a statement released on Thursday strongly dismissed the allegation directed against the group’s military leadership and called to develop mutual trust pointing to the joint effort with the government army to build peace.
“The SPLA-IO therefore, calls for trust and confidence in each other especially at the leadership level for the smooth implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangement and the R-ARCSS in general,” he stressed.
Gabriel said that the SPLA-IO is working to vacate civilians centres and moving troops to the Cantonment sites.
“This is what has been misunderstood as recruitment,” he stressed.
In addition, Gabriel said that James Koang Chuol Ranley, the Deputy of Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance is in Juba heading delegations of the senior SPLA-IO security team for the implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangement”.
Speaking at the meeting of the board of the ceasefire monitoring body in Juba on Thursday, Desta Abiche Ageno CTSAMVM head mentioned the genuine commitment of the peace partners to the ceasefire agreement except in central and western Equatoria where clashes have continued with rebel forces loyal to General Thomas Cirillo.
Due to the parties’ failure to implement key pre-transitional arrangements during the past six months, they agreed last week to extend the pre-transitional period for an additional six months.
The formation of the unified army is considered the most important operation that the signatories have to more excuse to delay as Juba pledged to provide $100 million to finalize this costly operation.
The parties, for the time being, identified the troop cantonment sites but the act of cantonment has not started yet.