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Defense Board agrees to 12,000 VIP protection force

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Monday, June 17, 2019

Members of the VIP Protection Unit at Rajaf Police Training Center on April 26, 2019 | Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

The army spokesperson says the Joint Defense Board has agreed to a request to increase the number of the VIP protection unit to a division.

A division comprises of up to 12,000 soldiers.

In March, the peace parties agreed to form a 700-strong VIP protection unit.

This was agreed upon during the Joint Defense Board or JBD meeting at the military headquarters in Juba.

The VIP protection unit would be drawn from the SSPDF, the SPLA-IO and forces from the Opposition Alliance.

According to the revitalized peace agreement, there shall be established a VIP protection unit for presidency.

This is in line with the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements enshrined in chapter two of the revitalized peace agreement.

The draft document also stipulates that the JDB shall exercise command and control over all forces during the pre-transitional period.

In April, the SPLA-IO said at least a complete division of 12,000 soldiers is needed to form the VIP protection unit.

Read related story: https://eyeradio.org/12-000-joint-force-needed-to-form-the-vip-protection-unit-spla-io/

“They [SPLA-IO] were proposing a division, we have no problem with that and the leadership said alright we will work on forming a division to be trained,” army spokesperson, Major-General Lul Ruai Koang said.

Three weeks ago, the Joint Defense Board directed the various security bodies established by the peace agreement to quickly move out of Juba to implement the security arrangements.

Members of the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, and the Joint Transitional Security Committee were been told to establish offices and begin work at the cantonment sites and other areas in the country.

The JMCC is expected to start the process of registration, screening of the forces, and send them for training.

“So we hope that within this time they would be in a position to give the force that is required from their side. Of course we have our forces ready, we are in our known barracks,” Gen. Lul added.

Last month, the government and the opposition groups resolved to extend the Pre-Transition period from 12th May 2019 to November, 12th, 2019 -to enable them complete security arrangements, including cantonment of all forces, joint training, and unification of forces.

Read related story: https://eyeradio.org/formation-of-new-government-pushed-to-november-2019/

The parties noted that the pending tasks and those yet to be completed are the “most critical and consequential” for the smooth formation of the RTGoNU.

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