South Sudan’s unity government took a significant step in strengthening security by deploying the first battalion of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) to Tonja in Upper Nile State.
The 750 soldiers were transported by barges from Juba after completing their deployment parade at the Luri Training Center. These forces, consisting of various units such as the army, police, wildlife, prisons, and intelligence, are part of a larger group of 52,000 personnel who graduated in August last year. Their primary responsibility is to ensure security during the upcoming elections.
According to Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Advisory on Security and Chairperson of the National Transitional Committee, the deployment was conducted under the direct orders of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Gatluak explained that the deployment of the first battalion to Malakal was just the beginning, as more troops would be deployed to other regions, including Bahr el Ghazal.
General Santino Deng Wol, the Chief of Staff of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), emphasized that the battalion would operate under the command of Division Two in Malakal. He assured the troops that they were not being deployed as a separate force but as an integral part of Division Two, taking directives from both the division commander and the SSPDF headquarters.
Angelina Teny, the Minister of Interior, reminded the soldiers of their mandate to protect the country and its citizens. She highlighted that they might be called upon to address security challenges and provide support to the police when needed.
The deployment of these troops signifies progress in implementing the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement, with South Sudan aiming to graduate a total of 83,000 unified forces encompassing the police, army, and intelligence units to ensure the nation’s security.