A religious leader has raised concerns over what he calls “slow efforts” by the parties to canton soldiers in the barracks as agreed in the 2015 peace deal.
Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiboro of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura – Yambio says most of the civilians in the former Western Equatoria state are concerned mainly about the absence of opposition forces at designated sites.
According to the revitalized peace agreement, the parties are required to assemble, screen, train and deploy unified forces between May and November 2019.
However, the National Pre-Transitional Committee, a body charged with the security arrangements, said it is facing challenges in raising enough funds to organize the security sector.
Last month, the commander of SPLA-IO forces in Amadi state said there are several opposition soldiers still in the bushes due to lack of food and shelter at the cantonment sites.
Speaking to Eye Radio on Monday, Bishop Hiboro says civilians are still hesitant to resume their normal lives because of the presence of armed elements in the bush.
“People know that the rebels are in the bush and they are still there in the bush with their guns and the government also. So people still have the doubt, they still have suspicious, they are still worried,” said Bishop Hiboro.
He said soldiers who won’t be absorbed into the new unified forces should be disarmed to gain the trust of the civil population.
“If we see the army gathered at their places to be selected -to have the national army for South Sudan, that will be the biggest credit for the country…and will add the degree of peace in the hearts of the people,” the cleric said.
A week ago, the SSPDF Chief of defence forces ordered army officials in the country to monitor and facilitate the movement of opposition forces to designated cantonment sites.
The decision was reached during a Joint Defense Board meeting held to discuss the progress of transitional security arrangement in the country.
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