JUBA – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has directed the National Transitional Committee (NTC), a body established to oversee the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal, to mobilize necessary funds for the graduation of the first batch of the unified army.
According to the 2018 peace deal, the unified forces – composed of oppositions and government forces were supposed to be graduated before the end of the pre-transitional period which ended in February 2020 with the appointment of Dr. Machar as First Vice President.
The forces were to take charge of security during the ongoing transitional period in the country.
The graduation and unification of the army has been delayed with government officials citing lack of funding and existing arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council as an obstacle which resulted to lack of arms for graduating the unified army.
“President Salva Kiir Mayardit has directed his advisor on security, Tut Gatluak Manime to mobilize necessary logistical support for the unified organized forces,” Barnaba Marial Benjamin was quoted by SSBC saying.
Soldiers have been reportedly deserting cantonment sites due to poor living conditions, including a lack of food, medicine, safe drinking water and shelter.
Marial however, said mobilizing adequate funds will help the National Transitional Committee to expedite and complete the unification of the forces.
“For example logistical support in feeding, and things like uniform and many other requirements that are needed for the graduation of unified forces,” Benjamin said.
“Also logistic support to supply food to all our organized forces including the graduating forces which will be done urgently,” he added.
In 2019, the government pledged more than $100 million to fund the implementation pending tasks, but only $40 million of that amount were paid to the now defunct National Pre-Transitional Committee.