South Sudan peace monitors decry delays in graduating unified forces

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South Sudan
Spining

South Sudan peace monitors called on the country’s leaders to speed up the process of graduating the 83,000 unified forces following delays that have led to defections amid clashes.

Charles Tai Gituai, the Chairperson for the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) said the 2018 revitalized peace deal signed to end years of conflict has stalled due to “very slow” progress on passing out the first batch of the 53,000 unified forces as earlier on promised by the parties.

“In regard to the transitional security arrangements and in particular, the screening training and redeployment of the necessary unified forces for phase one, it is disappointing that progress remains very slow,” Gituai said during the opening of its monthly meeting in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

He noted that rising community based violence such as the recent incident that saw 32 people killed in Baidit payam of Jonglei state would have been mitigated if the unified forces were in place.

Gituai also reminded the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to quickly avail budgetary support for the redundant disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process.

Gituai also urged opposition splinter parties of Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) that have been clashing since August last year to work within the parameters of the peace agreement in achieving peace.

Gituai also revealed that the SPLA-IO between October and December last year recruited civilians within its rank and file.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar leading soldiers loyal to the respective leader to fight.

The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced millions both internally and externally.

The 2015 peace deal signed to end the conflict collapsed in the aftermath of renewed violence, forcing the parties to sign the 2018 revitalized peace deal under international pressure. Enditem

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