South Sudan set to graduate another batch of unified forces

South Sudan’s transitional unity government has set next week for the graduation of another batch of unified forces to complete the 52,000 figure for the entire first batch.

Tut Gatluak Manime, the Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs told journalists that the next graduates are currently stationed in the regions of Equatoria, Bahr El Ghazel and Upper Nile. 

“We are going to graduate forces based in Torit town of Equatoria, military camps in Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazel and Unity state next week,” Gatluak said in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

On August 30th, 21,973 forces made up of army, police, wildlife, prisons and national security were passed out at the Dr.John Garang Mausoleum marking the implementation of the once sticky security arrangements that had been holding back the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

“In Unity state, the forces have been moved from Kaljak to Bentiu town for graduation, the forces will graduate and we will now begin thinking of phase two,” Gatluak said.

He disclosed that the unified forces will help resolve insecurity across the country. 

“If we train and deploy unified forces they will resolve the issues of proliferation of arms and also problems such as cattle raiding and others,” said Gatluak.

South Sudan is supposed to graduate a total of 83,000 forces to take charge of security during the recently extended transitional period that expires in February 2025.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 following political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar, leaving soldiers loyal to the respective leaders to fight.

The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced over two million people both internally and externally.

The shaky 2015 peace deal signed in Ethiopia under international pressure collapsed in the aftermath of renewed fighting in July 2016.

The 2018 revitalized peace deal remains the only path to securing permanent cessation of hostilities and long-lasting peace in the youngest nation that won independence from Sudan in 2011.

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