BENTIU, AUGUST 21, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – A senior South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) commander in Mayom County of the country’s Unity State is reportedly forcefully conscripting youth and training them at a village near Riak Payam.
A source told Sudans Post that community chiefs were being forced by General Manyuat Manyzol to bring youth from different sections or face a fine of up to seven cows.
The source said that at least 176 youth are currently being trained as a result of that process.
The source also said that former soldiers belonging to General Matthew Puljang Top were being expelled from allied SSPDF militias on the grounds that they could defect to form a new rebel group commanded by Puljang.
The SSPDF has not yet commented on the allegations. But General Pul said when contacted that he does not plans to defect and that “if anyone is targeting the people who served under me, that would be wicked of them.”
South Sudan descended into a deadly civil war in December 2013, two years after independence from Sudan.
The conflict has been fought along ethnic lines with Dinka supporting President Salva Kiir Mayardit, an ethnic Dinka, while Nuer supported current First Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.
In September 2018, the government and the main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) signed the revitalized peace agreement that included a commitment to end the recruitment of new fighters including the use of child soldiers.
The deal has however been slow to be implemented.
If confirmed, the latest recruitment drive in Unity State will yet another violation of the [peace agreement.
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