Forces at the cantonment sites do not have access to basic needs and are faced with severe logistical challenges, the ceasefire monitoring body has said.
There are 35 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country.
According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), 10 sites have been occupied by the SSPDF, 24 sites have been occupied by opposition forces, while one site in Renk remains unoccupied.
But in its latest report, the body says they have received reports of lack of basic supplies for the troops assembled in those areas.
It’s Chairperson Maj.-Gen. Desta Abiche says these challenges are affecting the formation of the Necessary Unified Forces, including the VIP protection unit needed before the formation of the government next month.
“CTSAMVM observes that severe logistical constraints continue to affect the implementation of the cantonment and many commanders continue to report to our MVTS that they lack food, shelter, water and medicines,” Maj.-Gen. Abiche said at the the body’s technical committee meeting held in Juba on Wednesday.
“The relevant bodies – JDB, JMCC, JTSC must start prioritizing resource to address these challenges if the cantonment process is to be completed and enable the next phase of the peace process to begin.”
Meanwhile, the deputy spokesperson of the SPLA-IO says the logistical constraints at the cantonment sites will likely affect the establishment of crucial security forces needed for the transitional period.
Last month, the IGAD consultative meeting on the revitalized peace agreement resolved that at least 50 percent of the 83,000 required soldiers should be cantoned, trained, and deployed before the end of September.
These are tasks that were meant to be completed within the (extended) pre-transitional period.
According to the parties, unifying the forces before next month will provide security guarantees for the transitional government of national unity, unlike in 2016 when the forces were divided.
Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel expressed worry over the lack of amenities at the cantonment sites.
“If we cannot bring them from the cantonment site to the training center, there will be delay,” Col. Paul said.
“But my thinking is if NPTC provides JDB with the financed for the next program, you will be able to see these forces in Juba and will be deployed.”
The SPLA-IO says it has already identified about 14,500 soldiers to be integrated into the unified national army, while 5,500 officers await training and integration into the national security service.
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