South Sudan: Ceasefire monitor body calls for establish of VIP protection forces

By Deng Machol

Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, Chairman of CTSAMVM, Photo credit: CTSAMM)

Juba – the Ceasefire Monitoring body has called for the formation of the VIP protection as the deadline for a unity government approaches.

According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), the formation the VIP protection forces has not yet commenced.

Despite that president Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Machar made important progress on the path to the formation of a unity government on 12 November when the two principals meet in Juba last month.

There is growing fears that the 2018 peace deal is a facing many obstacles as its key provisions remained unimplemented or were lagging behind and Machar’s group rejected the formation of transitional government on November 12 due to pre-transitional issues.

The formation of the unity government was then extended in May by six months because the national army was not created and the issue of the states was not finalized.

Speaking at a monthly CTSAMVM technical meeting in Juba on Thursday, Chairperson Maj.-Gen. Desta Abiche says the delays of established the VIP protection forces is unacceptable and is needed before the formation of the government next month.

He said the parties should speed up completion of unified forces to meet the November 12th deadline for the formation of a new government.

“CTSAMVM has received no information on the planned date to assemble and train the VIP protection. CTSAMVM urges the VIP protection force to be formed as a matter of urgency and the formation and training of the necessary unified forces to begin as soon as possible,” said Gen. Abiche.

The body hailed the registration of forces at the cantonment sites and barracks, to ensure the required number of troops is attained.

“While the number of forces being registered is encouraging, the cantonment process remains slow. Cantonment is an important step in enabling the security arrangements to be in place before the transitional period commences,’ he added.

The IGAD – peace mediator, deadline that at least 50 per cent of the 83,000 necessary unified forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed by 30 September has now passed without progress.

There are 35 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country, a move in line with the new peace deal.

The logistical constraint continues to negatively impact the implementation of cantonment sites, includes lack of food, shelter, water and medicines.

The body also said the government forces and opposition forces are still occupied the civilian and school buildings in Equatoria region, arguing that the failure to vacate these buildings demonstrates a lack of commitment to the peace process.

He said the ceasefire continues to hold with no reported incidents of clashes between the parties across the country, adding that the body continues to monitor the overall security situation and reports of tension in order to encourage early mediation and prevent escalation.

However, the country is trying to end the five-year conflict through the formation of transitional unity government next month, in which Dr. Machar will take up one of the four vice presidents under president Kiir.

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