South Sudan’s Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs has admitted that the cantonment sites for the unified forces have been deserted.
Angelina Teny says many soldiers who were waiting for graduation have abandoned the training camps due to lack of food.
“I don’t even want to talk about cantonment because cantonments have been abandoned because of food, maybe people will only come back once food logistics is provided,” Angelina Teny told Eye Radio.
The defense minister described the failure to graduate the forces as one of the main challenges hindering the implementation of the security arrangements.
There are 34 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country.
Some of the soldiers in these sites sleep under trees and are forced to shelter with locals in their mud huts, known as “tukuls”, when it rains.
Angelina stated that among them are women who also live under such conditions of no shelter, water, medication, among others.
In October 2019, three senior SPLA-IO officers in Ngiri cantonment site in Amadi also died due to a lack of medicines and poor sanitation there.
Last year, instructors at Rajaf unified police training center –with about 7,000 government and opposition forces –said two trainees died because of poor hygiene and lack of enough medicines.
In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio yesterday, Minister Angelina Teny says the conditions at the cantonment camps are worst for female trainees.
The revitalized peace agreement requires the cantonment, screening, and training of 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces to safeguard the peace deal.
But their graduation has been postponed on several occasions due to what the government says is a lack of resources.
The soldiers and trainees in different training and cantonment sites across the country have accused the government of negligence.
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