Logistical challenges derail graduation of Unified Forces

Logistical challenges derail graduation of Unified Forces
SSOA spokesperson and representative to CTSAMVM, Brigadier Samuel Chan Mut. [Photo: Courtesy]

The planned graduation of Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) that was scheduled for June 27-29, 2022, has been pushed further due to logistical challenges. 

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) official spokesperson and representative to the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), Brig. Samuel Chan, told The City Review that the scheduled graduation had hit another obstacle.

Chan said logistical preparations were not in place for the graduation to take place as scheduled.

“It is not going to happen simply because the preparation needed to graduate the forces is not yet in place. The necessary logistic (like guns) needed to graduate the forces are yet to be procured,” he asked.

The spokesperson of South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, and his SPLA-IO counterpart, Col Lam Paul Gabriel, did comment on the matter.

Date set

Two weeks ago, the Joint Defence Board (JDB) — a body responsible for training and graduation of necessary unified forces—resolved to ensure forces are graduated before the end of June 2022.

The graduation of the first batch, comprising 53,000 forces, currently in 18 training centres across the country, had has dragged.

The government cited the lack of finances, logistics, and arms embargo imposed on South Sudan as the impediments. 

The JDB Head of Secretariat, Maj. Gen. Charles Machieng Kuol, had told The City Review that all the arrangements for the graduation of forces were sorted out.

“In reality, probably the graduation will take place at the end of this month (June) either on 27, 29 or 30 of this month because we are now preparing all the lists to be put together,” said Machieng.

Machieng said the JDB meeting proposed faster procurement of food and non-food items to training centres prior to graduation.

“The security mechanism is working to ensure food delivery to training centres, and they have already informed us that food is on its way to Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Equatoria.” Machieng said.

“So, soon, between 17 and 19 of this month, the food will have reached all the training centres. From there they will start rehearsal, which will come together with the graduation.”

The security arrangement of the 2018 Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) states that the necessary unified forces would be composed of 83,000 to champion security during the transitional period.

The time is now narrowing, with the transitional period about to end in February 2023.

The government through Vice President Dr James Wani Igga while speaking during the official swearing in of newly elected Somali presidnet, had invited all African head of states to the graduation.