Professional soldiers needed for lasting peace

Professional soldiers needed for lasting peace
SSPDF solders in a past operation. [Courtesy]

On May 23, the investigation committee on the Aneet conflict released a report blaming the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) in Majak-Kol and Rumkoor barracks for failing to contain the violence between Abyei-Twic communities.

According to the findings of the committee, the SSPDF in Majak-Kol and Rumkoor barracks failed to contain the situation that resulted in loss of lives and properties.

The group said the soldiers identified themselves with their communities.

The committee equally faulted the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for failure to protect civilians in the Abyei Special Administrative Area (ASAA) as mandated by the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA).

Since the beginning of February, there have been several clashes between the Ngok Dinka in the Abyei Administrative Area and Twic Dinka of Warrap State. The clashes left more 30 lives.

Even though this has not been the only inter-communal conflict in the country, the finding has revealed the errors, either through omission or commission, that the national army often makes, when it comes to protecting citizens.   

Sad as it sound, the report stated that the soldiers in the area identified themselves with their communities. That was so unethical. The impartiality in the army is very important to ensure everybody is granted protection.

We do understand that it is still a long way to go through for the country to have professional soldiers. However, the Revitalised Peace Agreement provides options for the attainment of the national army whose key role should be to protect citizens and their properties.

Apart from just unifying the Armed Forces, the government, after the transitional period, should consider recruiting young professions to the service as one of the may ways to professionalise the Army.

So, it is important to ensure that the security arrangement is implemented as stated in the peace agreement, and then we achieve the best result in the next years to come. We shall be proud as a nation to see our army serving in regional peace in the future.