South Sudan deployment of troops to DR Congo shows commitment to EAC obligations – Yakani
A prominent South Sudan activist has welcomed the deployment of troops from the world’s youngest country as a part of the East African Community (EAC) Stabilization Force to the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying the decision to dispatch troops to the restive Easter DR. Congo is a show of commitment to EAC obligations.
JUBA – A prominent South Sudan activist has welcomed the deployment of troops from the world’s youngest country as a part of the East African Community (EAC) Stabilization Force to the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying the decision to dispatch troops to the restive Easter DR. Congo is a show of commitment to EAC obligations.
On Friday, information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth revealed that the government has approved almost $7 million for 750 troops from the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) that are to be send as part of the East African Community stabilization force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
East African leaders agreed – following a meeting in Nairobi in June – to deploy a Kenya-led regional security force to stop the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after weeks of fighting between DRC troops and rebels had raised tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, with Congo accusing its neighbor of supporting the rebels, something Rwanda denies.
In a statement, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) Edmund Yakani welcomed the decision to dispatch troops to the DR Congo is a show of commitment to East African Community obligations and should serve as an opportunity to reform the country’s military force.
“CEPO appreciates the South Sudan government response to of the heads of East African countries for deployment of joint regional military forces, to the restive province of North Kivu and Ituri of DR Congo. South Sudan is deploying battalion of 750 soldiers which is already undergoing training. Budget of 7 million US dollars from South Sudan revenue is required for funding the special battalion of the 750 soldiers,” he said.
“CEPO feel that this commitment for the East African integration is good example from our government but it should always offer an opportunity of reforming our military sector to meet standards of democratic practices, adherence to the principle of civil- rule, respect and promotion of human rights including commitment to standards of peace keeping operation under regional and international standards,” he added.
Yakani stressed that “with this deployment of our 750 soldiers to DR Congo as part of East African community special force requires our military leadership to urgently undertake key reforms at home on the sectors to democratic, human rights and rule of law standards. This is a good beginning but it offers challenges for our political leadership to allow the transformation of military into professional army per requires standards that makes our military transparent, accountable, observer of justice and rule of law principles.”
“This decision offers us opportunity of government to urgently execute the principle of separation of powers between politics and military. Our military should now be allowed to be independent from political control as the R-ARCSS proposed Security sector reform agenda requires,” Yakani stressed.
The outspoken activist further urged “our national parliament to ensure that our ministry of defense adopted clear strategy for ensuring our 750 soldiers are well cater for and they do observe respect and protection of human rights and adherence to the principle of civil- rule since they may be engage in carrying our special operations aiming at creating Peace and stability in Some parts of DR Congo.”
He called on “our 750 soldering to be deployed to DR Congo individually to take responsibility of representing our nation well with serious commitment for respect of human rights and standards of military-civil relationship including stronger commitment to transparency, accountability and zero engagement in profiteering from the violence of DR Congo as we have seen evidence from presence of other foreign forces in DR Congo.”
The statement further said that “CEPO as part of East African Community Civil Society Organizations Forum is calling for the leadership of East African Community to clearly have public strategy for holding joint regional military forces deployment for peace and stability accountable.”
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