JUBA – A senior South Sudan government official has revealed that the country’s transitional government of national unity is being pressured by the United Nations to graduate the peace forces without guns, saying a soldier without weapon should not be a soldier.
According to the revitalized peace agreement, South Sudan parties who signed the peace deal in September 2018 shall train, and then unify their forces to form a professional national army that would be politically independent.
But what the international community has referred to as lack of will has led to delay in the implementation of several transitional tasks with peace forces who are left starving in training centers deserting.
The government has conditioned the graduation of the peace forces with the lifting of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council ahead of the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in 2018 saying there are no guns for the peace soldiers to graduate.
Speaking during the opening session of the 5th Governors’ Forum in Juba on Tuesday, South Sudan’s Minister of Information, Communication Technology, and Postal Service, Michael Makuei said the international community is pressuring the government to graduate the peace forces.
“The international community is pressing on us despite the fact that they have pass on arm embargo they are pressing on us to graduate them and this people came to the training center without their arms, now we being ask to graduate them,” Makuei said.
“How do we graduate them? Do we graduate them with those sticks on which they were trained in the training centers and if we graduate them what will they do? Will we call them a national army?” he asked, before adding: “That is a no because an army must have weapons.”
The senior government official further said given the international pressure, the unity government may be forced to be graduated without weapons because they don’t have guns in the stores.
“At the end of the day, we may force them to graduate because the UN Security Council and the international community are forcing us to graduate,” Makuei who is also the official government spokesman further said.