Opposition fighters deserting cantonment sites over food shortage – commander

Soldiers of SPLA-IO holding up their guns during a parade in a rebels' held territory of South Sudan(Photo: file)

Soldiers of SPLA-IO holding up their guns during a parade in a rebels’ held territory of South Sudan(Photo: file)

October 21st 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan opposition fighters in cantonment sites in different parts of the country are running away over what a senior opposition commander said was the shortage of food.

Forces registration is currently under way and troops in most parts of South Sudan are being assembled in cantonment sites for the easy conduct of the registration process. The process is with the view to forming an 83,000-strong unified army is a cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal.

Shortcomings in funding and lack of will by the parties is however hampering the process. President Kiir said on Sunday that he will form the unity government on November 12th, a deadline strongly rejected by opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar who wants the security arrangement first completed.

A senior opposition commander in the country’s Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state said around 700 registered soldiers have left the site due to hunger saying everything they had in food have finished and said they had to get some food from the community.

The food got finished and now we are left with no food on the ground. We do survive on community food, we go to cultivate with them, go and collect groundnuts from their farms as a way of survival,” General Nicodemus Deng Deng who commands opposition forces in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal’s Pantit village said.

However, unfortunately, many of those soldiers that have been registered have since deserted because of unacceptable living conditions,” he said.

“It is a very, very, severe problem that thousands and thousands of soldiers and their family members are facing right now across South Sudan at the cantonment sites, without food, mostly without water, and all of them without medicine of some kind and they are desperate, they are angry and they see no solution to the problem.”

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