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Machar says over 200 opposition soldiers died in training centers

JUBA – First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has revealed that more than 200 peace soldiers, mostly from the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), have died in training centers across the country since 2019.

Machar who was speaking during the graduation of part of the country’s first batch of peace forces said the soldiers succumbed to diseases, hunger, and other factors.

“I know over 200 of your comrades have died in the 18 training centers. Some died because of diseases as there was no medication, some died because of hunger as the food was not available,” he said on Tuesday.

More than 22,000 men and women comprising the national army and the national police service, national civil defense, national wildlife service, and national security graduated from the training centers in the Equatoria region on Tuesday.

The first batch of unified forces reflects South Sudan’s ethnic diversity.

According to Machar, the soldiers who died were from Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), and South Sudan People Defense Force.

“I also know many of you have not seen your families for all the years you spent in training centers-today I congratulate you for your endurance and perseverance,” Machar said.

Machar who is also the Chairman of the main opposition group, SPLM-IO encouraged the forces to be peacekeepers under the command of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“You have undergone a serious test­­­­­, a serious test of political will. You have shown your will for peace and commitment to ensure stability in this country prevailed.”

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