By Kidega Livingstone
The Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) Gen. Johnson Juma Okot said the army mounting illegal checkpoints along the Juba-Nimule highway would be replaced by police once unification of the forces is done. “We are going to take away the soldiers from the highway, if the establishment of the army and the government is finished .We shall bring the police,” Gen. Okot said during the prayers of the Late Chief, David Ongee Okech who was killed by the cattle keepers in Jok-Okii village in Kit One, along the Juba–Nimule highway last year.
“This road should be free so that we have permanent peace. It is time to speak the truth for the development of this nation. There should be reconciliation and forgiveness among the communities,” he added. In 2016 the war displaced thousands of people living along Juba Nimule highway and their homes and properties were destroyed. The government stationed some army barracks along the road for the security of the civilians. Traders and Travelers have in the past complained of illegal tax levied by the men in uniform on the highways.
Last week, the governor of Central Equatoria State Emmanuel Adil Anthony issued an order directing the closure of all illegal road blocks within the state. He directed the security organs to implement the order. Gen. Okot said now that there is relative peace; the army would be removed after the full establishment of the government. During the National Dialogue Conference, Some community leaders in Eastern Equatoria accused the army of helping the cattle keepers to fight local farmers.
The Army Chief said some of the army have started leaving some of the villages along the road following the return of some refugees from the camps. Johnson urged the communities of Ma’di and Acholi to live together and encourage investors to come to the area.