By William Madouk
Government of South Sudan ponders to deploy unified forces (NUF) with sticks after all pleas to UN Security Council to lift arms embargo seems fruitless.
Minister of Information, Micheal Makuei told the press after council of ministers meeting, on Friday.
He said that the uniforms donated by the government of Türkiye will now be used for the graduation of the second batch of unified forces.
According to Makue, though there are no guns, “they can still use sticks” as the deployment is in process.
He said the uniforms that were just received at the general headquarters are the ones that will be used for the deployment of all these forces.
“The process of deployment is continuing, and probably within this month the deployment of the graduated forces will be out, except that we are going to deploy them also with the sticks,” he added.
Makuei, irked by the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) arms embargo, said the government has tried all means for the lifting of the sanctions, but in vain.
“We have all this time been crying and appealing and saying all sorts of good words that can attract our international brothers to lift their arms embargo, but nobody is listening to us,” Makuei lamented.
He said that, as there has been no progress in sight, the government has decided to deploy the soldiers with sticks.
When asked whether the government is heeding advice from the UNSC for lifting the arms embargo, he said, “these are misleading information that [they] usually say there to make people believe that there is something going on.”
As South Sudan is nearing the anticipated 2024 general elections, swift deployment of the graduated unified forces to beef up security in the states, is vital.
Although the government considers the deployment of forces, there is still a deadlock between the SSPDF and SPLM-IO over the second-echelon command structure.
On Wednesday, the Turkish government donated 218,693 military uniforms for the necessary unified forces in South Sudan.
Erdem Mutaf, the Turkish ambassador to Juba, said that such a donation from one of the world’s oldest armies is a sign of strong support for implementing the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan.
According to army spokesperson Maj-Gen Lul Ruai, the uniforms include battle camouflage and Air Force uniforms, and they would be distributed to members of forces before their deployment, while others would be reserved for phase two forces.
On May 20, 2022, the UNSC renewed the arms embargo and sanctions on individuals by a narrow margin that saw the approval of 10 out of the 15 council members for another year, due to persistent ceasefire violations and intensifying violence.
But Kiir’s administration abhorred the UNSC’s decision, citing that this would have serious ramifications for the security apparatus and the implementation of Chapter 2 of the peace deal.
The government continued to argue that the renewed arms embargo was not serving the interests of the people of South Sudan and was a major setback.
Early this month, the interim chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Rtd. Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, lamented that the government was yet to make tangible progress on the unification of forces.
“Despite food and other supplies having been procured and distributed to the training centers as well as the deployment of national assessment teams, there is no new progress,” he stated during the RJMEC monthly plenary.