19th January 2020
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Cantoned soldiers “drink dirty water”

Author: Garang Abraham | Published: 3 months ago

Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Seiji Okada and Joram Biswaro, African Union Special Envoy to South Sudan during a press briefing in Juba on Wednesday October 9, 2019. Photo/Credit/Garang Abraham/Eye Radio

The Japanese Ambassador has said soldiers at the cantonment sites have raised concerns over  lack of clean drinking water.

This came after Ambassador Seiji Okada, together with the ambassadors of South Africa and the African Union, visited a military barrack in Ashwa, Torit State.

Ashwa cantonment site is the base for hundreds of opposition forces.

Two months ago, the National Pre-Transitional Committee said trucks carrying supplies meant to support forces  assembled at the training sites had arrived in the country from the Port of Mombasa, Kenya.

China donated about 1,500 metric tons of some of these items. The donation to the forces included prefab houses, military tents, blankets, mosquito nets, diesel and solar generators.

Amb. Okada said he saw first-hand soldiers relying on unpurified water from the nearby streams for drinking, cooking and other use.

He told the media in Juba on Wednesday that this puts the health of the forces at risk.

“They are consuming that [China-donated] food but still there is no borehole,” he said.

The diplomat added that Japan would help in the construction of boreholes at the cantonment sites.

“The water from the river is contaminated and not safe for drinking. Their living standard there is not really  good; we witnessed that,” he added.

There are 35 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country.

According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring & Verification Mechanism, 10 sites have been occupied by the SSPDF, 24 sites have been occupied by opposition forces, while one site in Renk remains unoccupied.

The government availed only $10 million to facilitate the work of NPTC, short of the $100 million it pledged in May.

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