Over 5,000 forces to boost security during Pope’s visit

By William Madouk

The army and police have announced the deployment of 5,000 joint security forces within Juba and the surrounding areas to beef up security during Pope Francis’ visit to Juba.

According to authorities, the joint security forces will be deployed along airport, residential areas, major roundabouts in towns and different places of worships to provide necessary security.

Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the SSPDF spokesperson said all arrangements have been put in place. Lul revealed that the forces will be deployed today Thursday after having been shown their places of placements yesterday afternoon.

“We come here to inform the nation that we are very much ready to provide extra security that is needed to facilitate the coming of his holiness Pope Francis” Lul said during a joint security briefing yesterday.  

“We have 5,000 [forces] ready for duty. The rest are on standby in their respective places. The entire organized forces are on high alert for any additional task that might be requested in case the number we have deployed won’t be enough,” he added.

Call for cooperation between security forces and the public

General Lul stated that all security officers were advised to cooperate with members of the public and journalists.  He also urged the public to do the same.  

“I would like to appeal to the members of the public to cooperate with the security forces. If they are trying to search the vehicles, allow them do the searches. But if you resist, it will be an unlawful act,” he advised.

Addressing the joint forces, the Assistant Chief of Defense forces for Operation, Lt. Gen. Thoi Chan urged the forces to exercise high degree of professionalism while on duty and portray good image.

He also called on the service members to obey and carry out the order as instructed.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police for Human Resources and Development, Lt. Gen. Jackson Elia told the joint security organs to offer adequate security to civilians and their properties.

“Since members of the public are going to attend prayers, our role as security organs is to offer security to them and their properties. We shouldn’t indulge in any act of stealing” Elia instructed.

General Elia also explained the colors of the tags to be worn during the occasion to the joint forces. He told them to cooperate with those who will be having tags.

Meanwhile, Lt-Gen Peter Mading, the assistant IGP for operation informed the forces to keep law and order, warning them not to take liquor while on duty.

“For those who drink alcohol, please don’t consume any alcohol on these days while on duty. You may perhaps take it after your duty if you wish” Mading counseled. 

Instruction on routes to be used during the Pope’s stay

The Assistant IGP warned traffic police against focusing on driving licenses and vehicle logbooks on these specific days. He called on them to instead be instructors and advisors to the road users on the routes they (public) should use to their destination and those that are banned.

The national police said, on the first day of the Papal arrival at the airport, the road up to the State House J1, and the newly christened Pope Francis Road leading to the Vatican embassy will be closed.

On second day, the road that leads to saint Theresa Cathedral in Kator area, and the University of Juba Road to Jebel’s Presbyterian Church, Pyramid Hotel Road, up to Mobil roundabout and All Saint Cathedral will also be shut.

According to authorities, other streets will partially be barred based on the proximity to the event venue since locations for program sites change from time to time.

Pope Francis and his accompanying delegation will arrive in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Friday. He will spend two days in the country.

During their stay, they will meet with internally displaced persons, top government officials, and their church congregations in Juba before holding a general prayer on Sunday.

The visit is also expected to be attended by regional leaders, as the government has invited President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Kenya’s President William Ruto, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

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