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Ceasefire monitors wary of violence in wake of military defections in Unity state

The Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) on Wednesday said it was concerned about renewed violence in particularly the oil rich Unity state.

Hailu Gonfa Eddosa, the chairperson of CTSAMVM said that tensions have been rising in Unity state since October 2023 in the aftermath of Lt.Gen Simon Maguek’s defection from the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) to the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

“We are concerned about the changes in Unity state where tension between the parties have increased since the defection of Lt.Gen Simon Maguek last October which led to violence in Leer County in November,” Eddosa said the meeting of CTSAMVM members in Juba.

“There was a fatal incident on 29 January in Rubkona County, CTSAMVM is investigating this and we will report in due course, it is important that in the meantime the parties refrain from inflaming tension further,” he added.

Maj.Gen Rabi Emmanuel Mujung, the representative of the revitalized transitional government of national unity (RTGoNU) said that they will soon carry out investigations on the insecurity in Unity state and hold perpetrators accountable.

 “As usual measures will be taken against perpetrators who cause violation, we are not happy with the ongoing security situation in Unity state including also the allegations leveled against the SSPDF during disarmament exercise carried out in December,” Mujung said.

The SSPDF was accused by civilians in Gondokoro of human rights violations such as beatings, torture and illegal arrests during disarmament in the area located on the outskirts of Juba.

Maj.Gen Jany Kaway, the representative of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) called for the deployment of the necessary unified forces to take full control of security before the transitional period ends.

“I think when we talk a lot about deployment of necessary unified forces, it is very helpful for the peace and somehow it will stop the violations, if we have strong national unified forces they would solve so many problems,” Kaway said.

The government has since last year graduated about 52,000 unified forces out of the 83,000 forces required under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement to be in charge of the country’s security.

Maj.Gen Bior Leek, the representative of the former political detainees (FDs) said that the rampant violent incidents demonstrate that the ceasefire is no longer holding.

“When the status of ceasefire is holding it means there is no fighting and once there are incidents that took place involving high ranking officials of the government, it means the ceasefire has been broken,” Leek said.

He called on the parties to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement to speed up graduation of and deployment of the unified forces ahead of the general election slated for December 2024.

 Maj.Gen Andrea Mungu, the representative of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army- in opposition urged the parties to expedite the deployment of the first phase of unified forces and the second phase of training.

 “When it comes to violations in Unity state it is Joseph Nguen the Governor of Unity state, as a party that is signatory to the peace agreement to commit such violations shows that there is unwillingness to implement the peace agreement,” Mungu said.

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