South Sudan To Graduate Unified Forces Without Guns

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has announced that his government will graduate the necessary unified forces without guns.

This comes after the UN Security Council voted to extend the sanction regime for a year in May this year despite resistance from two countries—India and Kenya that abstained from the vote.

The measure renewed the arms embargo along with an assets freeze and global travel ban imposed on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fueling the conflict.

In reaction, the government said the sanctions were a threat to the implementation of the peace agreement – claiming that the peace soldiers must be armed.

Speaking at the closing of the Fifth Governors’ Forum in Juba, president Kiir said there is no other option apart from graduating unified forces with sticks.

“We have repeatedly inform the UN system about the negative impact this has on the implantation of the chapter two of the agreement. All we have received in return are more conditions that do not recognize progress achieved so far,” said President Kiir.

“We will have no option other than to graduate these forces with sticks,” he added with a unhappy tone.

The forces that went to the training centers or cantonment sites don’t have a guns.

According to 2018 peace deal, the government was supposed to graduate 53,000 of unified forces a year ago.

South Sudan, a country that turned into another civil war after her independence from Sudan in 2011, is now enjoy a paused conflict brought by the fragile 2018 peace deal.

The country’s five year conflict has killed 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes.

Due to many wars, the illegal guns ended up in the hands of a civilians. This has threatened the state security and it has resulted to sub-national violence across the country.

According to a report by the international Gun Policy organization, the estimated total number of guns – both licit and illicit – held by civilians in South Sudan is 1,255,000 in 2017, and 3,000,000 in 2013.

It revealed that the defense forces of South Sudan are reported to have 351,500 firearms.

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