By Simon Deng
South Sudan’s parties on Friday agreed to cease hostilities in the aftermath of recent fighting in northern Upper Nile and Unity states.
Thoi Chany Reat, deputy head of the South Sudan army (SSPDF) said after meeting his counterparts from Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) in Juba capital of South Sudan.
We urge the security mechanisms to speed up the process of graduation of the unified forces, and also spare no efforts in preparing for phase two of the unification of forces.
“On behalf, of the chief of defense forces and the command of SSPDF, we direct all forces to cease hostilities and uphold the cessation of hostilities agreement,” said Reat during the joint meeting attended by top commanders of both government and opposition forces.
The SPLA-IO and SSPDF clashed last week in Koch County of Unity state and Maiwut in Upper Nile state.
President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar, leader of SPLA-IO agreed on April 3 to share ratios within the unified army command structure to be set up next week.
“I would like to inform the general public that we welcome the decision of the presidency on unification of command across the security institutions. To my colleagues here, from SPLA-IO and SSOA, I would like to say we are looking forward to you joining us so that together we rebuild and transform our beloved country South Sudan,” said Reat.
Gabriel Duop Lam, the Acting Chief of General Staff for the SPLA-IO under Machar, said all the top commanders of SSPDF, SSOA and SPLA-IO will soon meet and form high-level committee to enforce the ceasefire in hotspot areas.
Julius Tabuley, head of SSOA forces, said the screening, streamlining of ranks has already completed paving way for the graduation of the 83,000 unified forces.
“In December last year, we sent committees to various training centers and their work was to screen, reorganize and unify the forces in those centers this work was concluded successfully. By next week there will be decree on the composition of the unified army command,” said Tabuley.