Government graduates first batch of unified forces

             Graduation of the first batch of unified forces-Photo by Bida Elly

By Bida Elly David

The South Sudan unity government yesterday graduated a number of 21,973 cadets from the unified forces into one national army as a mechanism to implement provisions on security arrangements as stated in the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

The occasion came following series of preparations after it was formerly declared during the Council of Ministers’ meeting early last month.

The categories of the graduated forces were driven from six units which consisted of VIP protection forces, national police service, wildlife, civil defence service, National security service and national prison service.

The event was attended by a number of participants such as head of states from the neighboring countries, RJMEC, Civil Society organizations, and faith based institutions among others.

Early this month, the Council of Ministers during their meeting resolved and fixed a date for the long procrastinated and proclaimed graduation of the necessary forces and segmented them to happen based on three regional categories where Equatoria region became the first in the hierarchy for the graduation.

According to the statistical figure read during the order of allegiance, National security service led with greater number of 6,315 personnel, followed by National police service with the number of 4,366 officers, then 3,575 from the wild life unit, 3,308 officers from the VIP protection unit, 3,289 personnel into civil defence service and finally 1,120 personnel into national prison service totaling to 21, 973 cumulative frequency of unified forced within greater Equatoria region.

Addressing the officers yesterday, President Salva Kiir Mayardit reiterated that natural disasters have been one of the factors that hindered the possibility of graduating the forces at once thus resulting into segmentation according to phases.

“We would have graduated all the forces at once but because we have been affected by flooding, we had to divide them into phases. The national army is there to defend the South Sudan from external aggression,” the President noted.

 Kiir underscored that the national army is there to defend South Sudan from people who would like to take power from the people by force in contradiction of the constitution and the law.

“It is your responsibility to defend the flag of our Country,” he stressed.

He called upon the hold out groups to return home and involve in the peace process for the betterment of the people.

“I call upon the hold out groups to return back home and join us in the peace making process. We don’t want rebels in our Country and we want to disarm our civilians so that we combat community violence to eradicate cattle rustling and improve local security and end sexual and gender based violence,’’ he said.

For his part, Tut Gatluak Manime, the chairperson for the National Transitional Committee (NTC) and Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs appreciated the forces for having reported to their training fields despite the hardships that might have affected them in one way or the other.

He reiterated that it was not an easy journey to reach the level of graduating the cadets but due to government’s commitment to implement the agreement they were able to graduate the first batch driven from the six units.

Tut added that preparations to graduate the second batch of the unified forces shall occur as soon as deployment of the first batch to their locations of service is accomplished.

“I am so grateful with the efforts our President has made to ensure that we graduate the forces today.”

“We have implemented the directives from our President because we are working to implement the peace agreement. Today we have graduated the first batch of the unified forces in the Capital of South Sudan and the graduation shall continue in the remaining States such as Upper Nile, Bahr -el- Ghazal and, Unity states,” he said.

Finally, Tut reiterated their commitment towards accomplishing the graduation of the remaining forces in the states to enable the process speed up its implementation.

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