December 25th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition leader and First Vice-President Designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny has ordered his forces to be transported to training centers.
There, the opposition forces would then join their SSPDF counterparts to form a unified national army.
President Salva Kiir and several opposition groups – including Machar’s SPLM-IO – signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement last year to end the six-year-old brutal civil war which has killed thousands and uprooted millions from their homes.
The agreement provided for the establishment of a one unified national army, police and national security. The soldiers forming the unified forces shall come from government and opposition troops according to the revitalized agreement.
In a brief statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO deputy spokesman said Machar issued an order on Tuesday for the SPLA-IO forces to be transported to training centers.
A copy of Machar’s order has also been obtained by Nyamilepedia.
“Yesterday the 24/12/2019, the Commander In Chief of the SPLA-IO, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon ordered the SPLA-IO forces to assemble and be transported to the different unified training centers,” Lam said in a statement seen by Nyamilepedia.
He said Machar’s decision to order forces to training centers “is in line with the implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangement.”
The security arrangements has been one of the thorny issues affecting the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. The slow movement of cantonment of forces has been attributed by many observers to lack of political will from the parties and government’s reluctant to fund the process.