South Sudan Govt Set Day For Graduation Of Unified Forces

By Deng Machol

Riek Machar shakes hands with President Salva Kiir

JUBA, South Sudan – Sudan’s presidency has resolved to graduate unified forces end of August in an attempt to speed up the implementation of the two years – extended fragile peace agreement, according to Martin Elia Lomoro, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs.

President Salva Kiir and his rival deputy Dr. Riek Machar had recently extended the transitional government in order to escape the first country’s elections.

The Presidency’s meeting on Wednesday was chaired by President Salva Kiir, and attended by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, including Security Advisor and government officials.

Minister Lomoro said the graduation of the necessary unified forces will commence on the 30th of this month.

He added that the graduation of more than 52,000 forces will start in the Greater Equatoria region.

“There are some 26,508 forces of the mixture of the army, national security, and police in nine centers in Greater Equatoria, they are ready for graduation…, so in about 20 days’ time we will have the forces paraded and graduated as per our roadmap,” said Lomoro.

More than 26,000 forces are expected to graduate from nine centers.

The forces include the VIP protection forces, army, police, national security, prison, and civil defense.

Tens of thousands of forces have been assembled and trained at various cantonment sites and training centers across the country since 2020.

This comes after a several times of postponement of the graduation of the peace forces, but factors such as insufficient funding, lack of political will among the peace parties, the recently imposed arms embargo and allegations of many ranks in the opposition forces are said to be complicating the efforts.

Minister Lomoro also says that 15,682 soldiers in five stations in Greater Upper Nile and 9,812 in three centers in Greater Bahr el Ghazal are going to be graduated.

“These forces are ready to be graduated and we have agreed that they will be graduated by the 30th of August this year,” said Lomoro.

He also assured these forces are ready to be reintegrated.

Dozens of soldiers were reported to have died of starvation and sickness in cantonment and training sites, while others deserted as they awaited the graduation that never comes.

The 2018 revitalized peace deal expects the unity government to graduate 83,000 unified forces drawn from the various parties to take charge of security during the ongoing transitional period.


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