Kiir says unified forces to graduate with sticks
President Salva Kiir has announced that the peace government will graduate the necessary unified forces without guns.
In May this year, the UN Security Council voted to extend the sanction regime for a year despite resistance from two countries—India and Kenya that abstained from the vote.
The measure renewed the arms embargo along with an assets freeze and global travel ban imposed on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fueling the conflict.
In reaction, the government said the sanctions were a threat to the implementation of the peace agreement – claiming that the peace soldiers must be armed.
Speaking at the closing of the Fifth Governors’ Forum, Kiir said there is no other option apart from graduating forces with sticks .
“We have repeatedly inform the UN system about the negative impact this has on the implantation of the chapter two of the agreement. All we have received in return are more conditions that do not recognize progress achieved so far,” President Kiir said at 5th governors’ Forum.
“We will have no option other than to graduate these forces with sticks.
At the same forum last week, the minister of defense – Angelina Teny, who represents SPLM-IO in the unity government, said graduation could go on since the soldiers had guns before joining training centers.
“Most of the forces that went to the training centers are actually the opposition forces and I am going to be very honest. There were issues of trust, confidence and at that time, many of the opposition forces saw it as the process of disarmament,” Angelina said at the 5th governors’ forum.
“The issue of arms should not prevent graduation. You graduate them, and those combatants can be requested to go and take their arms where they left them.”
According to a report by the international Gun Policy organization, the estimated total number of guns – both licit and illicit – held by civilians in South Sudan is 1,255,000 in 2017, and 3,000,000 in 2013.
It revealed that the defense forces of South Sudan are reported to have 351,500 firearms.