South Sudan urged to expedite unification of forces

Monday February 01 2021

South Sudan soldiers. Parties to the peace accord urged to work together to expedite the unification of forces. PHOTO | AFP

By Garang Malak


Peace monitors and mediators have urged parties to stop blame games and instead work together to expedite the anticipated unification of forces in South Sudan as stipulated in the 2018 peace accord.  

In a joint statement seen by The EastAfrican on Friday, the African Union, Inter-governmental Authority on Development and Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission described the conditions of cantoned soldiers at the training sites as horrible.

“It is disheartening to note that a lack of food and other essential resources, such as medicines, shelter and separate facilities for women, has led to suffering of the trainees, and to some trainees abandoning the training centres…Unsurprisingly, morale in the training centres has significantly declined,” reads the joint statement.

They said they are concerned that the unity government has not published graduation or redeployment plans.   

“We firmly believe that the full implementation of the security arrangements is the best way to help ensure stability across South Sudan.


“We look to the government, and in particular the Presidency, to drive the security arrangements forward, and to engender the political will necessary across all implementing Agreement institutions and mechanisms to make up for lost time and implement the PCTSA fully in letter and spirit,” the peace bodies said.

They urged the unity government to improve conditions in the training centres by providing adequate food and other essential supplies, accelerate the graduation of the national unified forces and publish their redeployment plan.

“Passing the blame from one to another does not help. The unity government needs to offer leadership and provide adequate resources to implement the security arrangements in the spirit of ensuring success in the implementation of the entire Peace Agreement.

“We believe that the successful implementation of security arrangements is a guarantee to a permanent foundation of enduring peace in South Sudan. Protracted delays and passing of time without progress is detrimental to the overall situation in South Sudan,” reads the joint statement.

Chapter II of the peace accord stipulates for the training and unification of the necessary 83,000 forces into one unified professionalism army. But many stakeholders have questioned peace parties on the slow implementation of this crucial chapter bearing all security arrangements which were supposed to be implemented before the formation of the coalition government. 

Training of the necessary unified forces started early last year across all training centres and their graduation has been adjourned on several occasions.

Late last year, a ceasefire monitoring body said cantoned soldiers were leaving the training sites due lack of food, medical supplies and other logical challenges.