April 30th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The main armed opposition group led by South Sudan’s former First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has said it wants a VIP protection force of between 10 and 12 thousand which would be a complete division.
South Sudan government announced this week that it is training its portion of the VIP protection unit at Rajaf Police Training Centre. This excludes the SPLM-IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance which is supposed to be a part of the unit totaling 700.
Speaking in an interview with the Juba-based Eye Radio Network, the SPLA-IO Deputy Spokesman, Lam Paul Gabriel said his group wants a complete division that is make up of between ten and twelve thousand men for the VIP protection.
“If we are to form the VIP protection force, it has to be a complete division, a division is around ten to twelve thousand, and that number is the one that we really feel will be necessary to be able to protect the presidency,” Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO deputy spokesman was quoted by the Eye Radio as saying.
Lam said the protection should not only be limited to government officials at the Presidency buy to also include civilians and this would means the unification police, wildlife and other organized forces so that the new composition provides protection to the civil population.
“Our civilians need to be protected, not only the VIP protection force. We also need the police, the wildlife, and the national security forces to be unified. So we don’t need to put our effort only on particular or few numbers and leave the majority of South Sudanese out”, He said.
However, the army spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said the Joint Defense Board has decided not to form a huge force of the VIP protection unit due to logistical and funding issues.
“It was discovered that forming a huge force was difficult in term of logistics and the problem of funding, so it was agreed upon by Joint Defense Board that a pilot project would be set up. It was agreed that three thousand strong force would be composed, comprising representatives from us,” he said.
“Some achievements had been made, the site is ready, food has been prepositioned, other logistics including medicine are there. Panyume is the area where SPLA-IO force would assemble and taken to Moroto for training,” he added.