Juba, January 23, 2019 (SSNA) — The interim chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Augostino Njoroge said he wants to see troops of South Sudan’s warring factions to be united so that other stages of the peace implementation would be achieved.
At the opening of the third plenary session of the JMEC in Juba on Wednesday, Augostino explained that the transitional period stipulated in the September 2018 peace agreement is approaching and that unification for forces is crucial at this time.
“It is very important that all the armed forces of South Sudan are unified. With the rapid approach of the transitional period, their unification will be a decisive milestone for this agreement, which is why no effort should be spared in achieving this,” Augostino said.
JMEC head also states that other peace provisions such as security arrangements need to be expedited.
“I expect that the work of the security institutions and mechanisms will quickly gather momentum and that practical steps shall be taken to expedite the disengagement, cantonment, and unification of forces,” he said.
Augostino also criticized unnamed military leaders who he accused of impeding the works of peace monitors. South Sudan national army (SSPDF) detained, harassed, and tortured peace monitors in December last year. The monitors were heading to Luri to investigate about two new government military training sites recently opened for new recruits. The Khartoum’s peace agreement banned training and recruitment of new soldiers.
As stipulated in the peace text, the two main peace partners: The government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) are required to move their forces to cantonment sites. In early December last year, the SPLM-IO ordered its troops to move to designated areas, but it is not clear if the government has done the same.
South Sudan’s 2015 peace deal was revitalized and signed on September 12, 2018 in Khartoum, raising hopes that the five-year-old civil war could come to an end. The conflict has killed at least 382,000 people and displaced millions more.