in ,

South Sudan soldiers yet to arrive DRC, army says due to delays in logistics

South Sudanese soldiers to be deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the East African standby force on 28 December 2022 (Radio Tamazuj photo)

The 750-strong South Sudanese battalion expected to join a regional force fighting a rebel offensive in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is yet to leave the country two weeks after it was commissioned. 

President Salva Kiir Mayardit, on 28 December 2022, flagged off the soldiers after completing a six-month training. 

The soldiers will be part of the East African Community (EAC) bloc deployed to quell the fierce fighting between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group.

The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) spokesperson, Major General Lul Ruai Koang, said during the ceremony that the soldiers will leave for DRC as soon as possible. 

But, according to several social media reports, some of the soldiers deserted the mission and were stationed in parts of Western Equatoria State after disagreements. 

Gen. Ruai speaking to Radio Tamazuj this week denied the reports.

“It is a lie. Our army has not even arrived in Congo. Right now, they are in Mundri town of Mundri East County of Western Equatoria State. They are not in Congo,” he said.

The army spokesperson said there is a slight delay as the soldiers process their travel documents. 

“They are there processing their travel documents, age assessments, nationality, and passports. So when they are done with processing of their documents that is when they will start being airlifted to Congo,” he said. “Most likely they will fly from Western Equatoria to DRC Goma because there is no direct route.”

Asked when the army will travel, Gen. Ruai said, “I don’t know, but it won’t take long because these people are not many. It won’t take long.”

The EAC regional force is expected to include soldiers from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan. But its intended total size remains unclear.  

Kenyan soldiers arrived in the country on November 12, 2022, with the Ugandan military later announcing that it would deploy 1,000 troops by the end of November last year.


Jonglei: 12 dead in fresh attacks in Uror County

UNOCHA condemns killing of 3 aid workers in South Sudan