Nov 18, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — At least four soldiers have starved to death in a span of two months in a cantonment site in Mundri County, Western Equatoria State, according to a senior military officer.
The SPLM-IO commander, Maj Gen. Chance Sismaya Taban said that Ng’ri cantonment has not received food and medical supplies since December 2019 leaving the recruits, who are awaiting training, exposed to death by starvation.
According to Maj. Gen. Sismaya, the officers at the Ng’iri cantonment site have been surviving on handouts from villagers but that was never enough to sustain everyone.
“No. We don’t have food and we don’t have medicines since we opened the Ng’iri cantonment area” Maj.-Gen. Sismaya told a local radio station.
The commander stressed that it is very difficult to manage soldiers at the camp without food or basic needs.
“We get food from our people, from our relatives…. but there were death cases in May and July. We lost four soldiers,” he stressed.
Maj Gen Taban went on to stress that their attempt to ask for help from Juba has not been answered as they have not received any feedback from Juba regarding assistance to the training camp.
Maj.-Gen. Sismaya said that among the soldiers who have died from hunger-related illnesses include Lt.-Col. Captain Areki Mori, Capt. Borok Noah, and a Lt.-Col. Samuel.
He further said that this is not the only time the camp has lost soldiers due to lack of basic necessities as in early 2020, three senior opposition officers lost their lives at a cantonment site in greater Mundri due to lack of medical supplies.
The ceasefire monitoring body, CTSAM-VM, has reported a lack of logistical support, shelter, water, among others, and said that these have led to many soldiers abandoning the cantonments.
The parties to the revitalized peace agreement have not completed the training and deployment of the necessary unified forces before.
Meanwhile in Juba, the government is trying to use the training of the unified forces as an hook to get the United Nations to remove arm embargos and sanctions.
According to president Kiir, arms embargo is denying his administration the opprtunity to secure military equipment needed to train and equip the soldiers with and that is delaying the training and graduation of the unified forces.