JUBA – South Sudan’s parties to the revitalized peace agreement have this morning graduated nearly 13,000 members of the unified forces in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region and are heading to do the same in Upper Nile region in a week.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony which took place in Western Bahr el Ghazal State capital Wau today, President Kiir’s security advisor and head of the National Transitional Committee Tut Gatluak Manimeh promised that those in Upper Nile region will be graduated in a week’s time.
“’We thank you for showing patience as you have stayed for a very long time in the cantonment and training centers. We promise that the president of the state of South Sudan Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit is willing to deploy you as soon as you graduate today,” Gatluak said.
For her part, defense minister Angelina Teny called on the peace forces to be impartial and not to take side in politics, saying the role of the army is only to protect the territorial integrity and its citizens and not to involve in political issues.
“Any soldier has one duty and that is to protect your country from external threat. Do not involve yourself in politics because the result was the senseless war which has left our country vulnerable to all external threats,” she said.
The parties graduated today 12,765 including 4098 for South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), 4951 for the police, 1160 for the prison service, 1353 for the wildlife, and 1203 for the civil defense.
Speaking to the media during the graduation, Brig. Gen. Wijang Duop, the spokesman of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) forces, said the “parties will now go to the Greater Upper Nile region to graduate the forces there.”