At least a complete division of ten to twelve thousand joint force is needed to form the VIP protection unit, the deputy spokesperson for SPLA-IO has said.
The training of the presidential protection unit commenced on Friday at Rajaf Police Training Centre without SPLM-IO and SSOA forces.
According to the revitalized peace agreement, the VIP protection force must comprise of security personnel from the government and Opposition sides.
This is in line with the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements enshrined in chapter two of the revitalized peace agreement.
The deputy spokesperson for SPLA-IO, Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel told Eye Radio that SPLA-IO wants a complete division for VIP protection unit.
“If we are to form the VIP protection force, it has to be a complete division, a division is around ten to twelve thousand, and that number is the one that we really feel will be necessary to be able to protect the presidency”, he said.
Col. Lam said the police, the wildlife, and the national security forces must be unified to provide protection to the civil population.
“Our civilians need to be protected, not only the VIP protection force. We also need the police, the wildlife, and the national security forces to be unified. So we don’t need to put our effort only on particular or few numbers and leave the majority of South Sudanese out”, He said.
The deputy spokesperson for SPLA-IO added that the parties are addressing the issue of VIP protection unit with the Joint Defense Board.
For his part, the army spokesperson, General Lul Ruai Koang said the Joint Defense Board has decided not to form a huge force of the VIP protection unit due to logistical and funding issues.
“It was discovered that forming a huge force was difficult in term of logistics and the problem of funding, so it was agreed upon by Joint Defense Board that a pilot project would be set up. It was agreed that three thousand strong force would be composed, comprising representatives from us”, Lul said.
He said some achievements in the security arrangements have been made so far in term of logistics.
“Some achievements had been made, the site is ready, food has been prepositioned, other logistics including medicine are there. Panyume is the area where SPLA-IO force would assemble and taken to Moroto for training”, Gen. Lul said.
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