JUBA – South Sudan government on Tuesday graduated the first batch of the long-awaited unified forces without firearms, ushering in a new regime in the country’s security sector which has been accused by the international community of human rights abuses.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who doubles as the chairman of the ruling SPLM party, and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who leads the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement in 2018.
According to the revitalized peace agreement, all the forces “shall be trained together to ensure coherence and harmony” and “On the completion of training the unified forces shall be redeployed at different levels and sizes (units, formations and commands).”
Kiir, in an order of allegiance read out during the graduation ceremony Dr. John Garang de Mabior Mausoleum by the presidential affairs minister, who doubles as the Commander-in-Chief of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) graduated a total number of 21,973 of the peace forces.
That figure includes 3,308 VIP protection forces of the unified SSPDF, and 4,366 personnel into the unified South Sudan National Police Service.
The president also integrated 6,315 personnel into the unified National Security Service, and 1,120 personnel into a unified National Prison service.
Separately, Kiir integrated 3,575 personnel into the unified National Wildlife Service and 3,289 into the unified National Civil Defense Service.