Juba, January 15, 2019 (SSNA) – Military leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) , and other organized forces will visit Yei and other locations on Wednesday to observe cantonment sites where the two armies will be assembled and trained for reunification as one national army, two senior officials who run the Joint Defense Board (JDB)have said.
Chief of General staff of the SSPDF Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak states that he and his counterpart Lt. Gen. James Koang Chuol Ranley of the SPLA-IO will be heading to Yei, check an assembling area in Panyiome and a training center in Marobo located in Southwestern part of the country and will also visit SPLA-IO assemble sites in the areas.
“We are planning to kick off the cantonment of forces with the estimate of at least 2,000 or 3,000 but the initial maximum is 5,000 forces per training. We have decided that we will visit Yei and proceed to Panyiome where we will then start cantoning the forces. We will also visit the opposition forces camps in the area and start screening them based on the mechanism of joint monitoring ceasefire commission (JMCC),” Gabriel told reporters in Juba.
SPLA-IO deputy chief of staff James Koang Chuol said the armed opposition is ready to implement the September 2018 revitalized agreement.
“We are moving on well with the full implementation of the security arrangements. Negotiation has stopped and we must finish the rest in the training of the forces to become one army,” he said.
During the news conference, the two Generals disclosed that the second phase of security arrangements will have at least nine cantonment sites; three in Greater Equatoria region, two in Greater Baher el Ghazal, and fours in Greater Upper Nile region.
The two military leaders also said security arrangement is a vital part of the deal and that its implementation is vital for lasting peace in the country.