South Sudan army, SPLA-IO disengaged forces in Unity region – peace monitors

Military officers of the SPLA-IO (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

January 16th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) said on Wednesday that South Sudan army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) have disengaged forces in Unity region.

South Sudan government and opposition groups are trying to implement a peace agreement signed in September last year to end the ongoing civil war.

Based on the permanent ceasefire agreement signed in June that year and the security arrangement that followed the signing of the agreement,  the parties should canton and disengage forces in close proximity.

Speaking at the 7th meeting of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee (CTC) in Juba on Wednesday, the CTSAMVM Chairman Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, said South Sudan army and the SPLA-IO forces in Unity region have agreed to disengage forces.

“In Bentiu, the situation has also improved particularly in Bil Payam where the SSPDF 4th Division in Bentiu and SPLM/A-IO have agreed to disengage forces in this formerly contested area,” Abiche told the CTC members.

Abiche further said it is the first time to notice disengagement – by the warring sides – of forces in close proximity saying it shows progress.

“This is the first case that CTSAMVM is aware of reported disengagement of forces in close proximity and this shows good progress,” he further said.

However, Abiche said challenges remains with respect to the situation in Yei where continued fighting remains engulfing the state.

“Unfortunately challenges remain – with conflict in Yei, instances of access denial, the overall lack of disengagement of forces in close proximity, and budgetary constraints,” he said.

“In Yei, the situation remains complicated and is a big challenge. Fighting was reported between SSPDF and the NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo on January 8th and there was force movement without authorization by the SSPDF from Juba to Yei on January 12th. There are also allegations of military build-up and offensive movement in the Yei area,” he added.