Official: No graduation dates yet for state unified forces

Official: No graduation dates yet for state unified forces
Part of the newly graduated soldiers at Dr John Garang Mausoleum.

A senior government official has said that there are no dates yet regarding graduation of forces in the states under Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) command.

In an exclusive interview with the City Review, Col. Lam Paul, who is the spokesperson for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and a member of the Joint Defense Board’s media team, said no specific date has been set for the graduation of the forces at the state level.

He remarked that the high-level graduation committee still needs to present the dates to the Joint Defense Board (JDB) and the National Transitional Committee (NTC) for approval.

He expressed regret that the meeting had to be postponed because of the torrential rain on Sunday, saying, “We just hope that the meeting goes through this week so that these forces are graduated.”

 “I cannot give a specific date at the moment but one thing I am certain of is that there is a preparation which is ongoing at the states level and also the high-level graduation committee in Juba shut down last week and came up with proposed dates for the graduation to take place at the states level”

“But I can give you a hint from the days that are being proposed: all the graduations at the state level are supposed to happen within this month. “Before the end of this month, we are supposed to complete graduation at the state level,” said Lam.

As per the roadmap agreed upon in August, phase one of the unified forces’ graduation process will begin on August 30th, 2022, and conclude on September 30th, 2022.

Lam stipulates that efforts are still being made in numerous training facilities to get the unified forces ready for graduation. Uniforms have already been delivered to the state-level forces, and food has also been given to them.

Lam confirmed that preparations for the graduation of the unified forces are ongoing in various training centers. According to him, one of the activities of the preparation is the parade rehearsal so they can do matching like what happened in Juba, uniforms have been taken to the forces at the state level, and food has already been delivered to these forces.

However, food for the forces in Upper Nile is on its way, which Lam believed will arrive very soon, as the state governors are also busy. “So that’s the preparation I’m talking about, Lam told The City Review in an interview”.

The forces in Owiny Ki-bul, on the other hand, have been transferred to Torit due to accessibility issues, and according to Lam, the forces in Kaljac Training Center will also be transferred to Bentiu because they are closer to the town, whereas the forces in Moom will be graduated in Moom Training Center due to its remote location in Leer County and the state of the roads.

“We were not able to transport food to Owiny Ki-bul because more than two bridges are damaged beyond repair and the road is too muddy, so it was decided these forces have to be moved to Torit. “At the moment they are being reorganized and being prepared for graduation.”

Due to accessibility issues, bad weather, and the fact that some training centers have been flooded, the forces in Upper Nile will also be moved from their current training locations to Malakal, where they will graduate, according to Lam.

Lam told The City Review that the forces are prepared at the training centers and are awaiting their graduation even though food for the training centers in Upper Nile State has not yet arrived. He stated that the forces have been making do with what little they have in order to ensure that they remain in the training centers, describing the graduation preparation as being “on high gear.”

“So this food will continue coming, but they will also continue to be in the training centers so they can continue with the rehearsal,” he lamented.

As a result of logistical difficulties, the forces in the state will not all graduate on the same day, according to Lam.? He did not say which state would lead until the high-level graduation committee presented the schedules and noted that it will be a phase in phases.

Regarding the category of the unified forces in the states, Lam outlined that Torit has an army, Maridi has an army, Panyir has an army, and Wau has an army as well as organized forces such as the police, wildlife service, and civil defense. The organized forces are in Kaljac in Bentiu, while the army is in Moom. Malakal has both organized forces and the army, with only the army remaining in the Equatoria region to be graduated.

In a ceremony overseen by President Salva Kiir in Juba last month, 21,973 forces were graduated and appointed to the necessary unified forces. There are 3,308 VIP protection officers, 4,366 national security officers, 6,315 police officers, 1,120 prison officers, 3,575 wildlife officers, and 3,289 civil defense officers.