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Yakani reiterates call for speedy deployment of unified forces

By Gladys Fred Kole


Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) urges the presidency to speed up redeployment of the first graduated batch of unified forces.

In 2022, over 50,000 security personnel graduated as the first batch of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) to join various ranks within the security sector to form a unified national army, police, and other organized forces.

But their deployment has since been delayed to date as the government continues grappling over a lack of arms to equip the forces.

Government blames the gap on arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council, prohibiting South Sudan to procure weapons and some military supplies.

Meanwhile, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) argues that “lack of arms” should not be used as an excuse for the long-overdue deployment of the forces.

SPLM-IO said the government must demonstrate its willingness and deploy the already-graduated forces, adding that the country has ‘enough guns’.

CEPO’s Executive Director, Edmund Yakani linked the delay in deploying the forces to a deficit in trust and confidence.

There has been disagreement between the peace parties concerning the second echelon of the unified command of the forces.

“If you don’t have redeployment of the first graduated unified forces and rolling out of the second batch for training, graduation, and redeployment within the end of the year 2023 and early 2024, then the chances of us creating a conducive environment for the conduct of elections by December 2024 are minimum or limited,” said Yakani.

“We shouldn’t have too many excuses when it comes to implementing the transitional security arrangements. It is essential that this go side by side with the political transitional process,” he echoed.

He noted there were quite a number of civilian disarmaments that were conducted in the country, adding that those collected arms of different types were declared in several media sources.

CEPO’s boss expressed that the number of different types of guns collected from illegal holders or armed civilians is bigger than the number of the first graduated unified forces.

“We have never seen any information that those guns were destroyed or were completely condemned, so those guns are stored somewhere. Why don’t we use those rivals for redeploying the first graduated unified forces?” Yakani questioned

“Having the number of guns collected from civilians and also since we have received material support in the form of uniforms from Egypt and the Turkish government, “why don’t we use those uniforms to redeploy the first graduated unified forces?” he wondered.

The Turkish government, early this year, donated 75,000 military uniforms for the use of unified forces in South Sudan, while Egypt also donated military uniforms and tents.

In early August this year, under the peace implementation oversee, the National Transitional Committee (NTC) procured 97 truckloads of assorted food items for the necessary unified forces meant for their deployment process.

Upon receipt of the 97 trucks in Juba in August, NTC chairperson Tut Gatluak told journalists the forces were soon going to be deployed, but months have passed and nothing tangible has been seen yet.

“We are soon going to have our timetable for the deployment of the forces, which is the first item to be implemented. Our citizens should know that we have started implementing the agreement,” Gatluak told the media in early August.

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