A member of the ceasefire monitoring body has expressed frustration over the slow pace of training and graduation of cantoned forces across the country.
Major General, David Nyang, who represents the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) at CTSSAM-VM, said all activities related to security arrangements have been prematurely put on hold.
“There are no activities that indicate that the preparation for the graduation of the necessary unified forces,” Gen. Nyang said during a CTSAMVM meeting in Juba on Thursday.
The 2018 revitalized peace agreement provides for the unification of the rival forces to form the first professional national army consisting of 83,000 soldiers drawn from the rival South Sudan parties and the SSPDF.
Training of the necessary unified forces started early this year across all training centres and their graduation had been slated for Saturday last week.
However, the graduation of the unified forces has been delayed on several occasions due to the army headquarters described as “logistical challenges”.
In June 2020, the Joint Defense Board said it had presented a financial request to the National Transitional Committee to facilitate the graduation of the forces, but it said the mobilization of financial resources has been difficult.
On Tuesday, a commander of the SPLA-IO in Western Equatoria State revealed that they have lost four soldiers due to hunger in a span of two months this year.
Maj.-Gen. Chance Sismaya Taban said the forces at Ng’iri cantonment site in Mundri County have not received food and medical supplies since December 2019.
A representative of the opposition alliance at the ceasefire monitoring body has also admitted that nothing has been done to take care of soldiers at the training camps.
“I would only like to urge the forces in training centers to be patient and remain resilience under those harsh condition and combating hunger and diseases [there],” Nyang added.
In 2019, the National Transitional Committee said it had allocated $16 million for the implementation of the security arrangements.
Since then, they have been reports indicating that many cantonment sites are inaccessible, facing numerous challenges such as lack of water, shelter and medical supplies.
Soldiers at the cantonment site have continued to complain of inadequate supplies as they wait for their graduation.
Three senior opposition officers died in early 2019 at the training camp in greater Mundri due to lack of medical supplies.
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