SPLA-IO commander says soldiers in training centers starving to death at an ‘alarming’ rate
A top South Sudan opposition commander has said that government and opposition soldiers in training camps are starving to death at an alarming rate saying most soldiers have deserted the training centers to evade death and suffering.
JUBA – A top South Sudan opposition commander has said that government and opposition soldiers in training camps are starving to deathat an alarming rate saying most soldiers have deserted the training centers to evade death and suffering.
General Wizely Welebe Samson who is also a member of the Joint Defence Board (JDB) representing the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) said soldiers were deserting the training camps across the country due to hunger and diseases.
“Those of us who are overseeing the training do not sleep. The number of calls we receive each day is disturbing. People are dying. They are living in a hostile situation and the number of people who have died is alarming and it is increasing each day. Because of this, some have decided to leave the training camps. They have deserted because the situation in these camps is not good. There is no food, no medicines and there is nothing we can do,” the opposition officer said, according to Sudan Tribune.
“We hear their reports and complaints and what we do is just to forward these cases and complaints to political leaders and the presidency,” he added.
The senior South Sudan opposition commander also made similar remarks during a talk-show on Radio Miraya organised for the JDB members on Saturday.
In mid-October, the JDB, the body which is charged with overseeing the training and graduation of the necessary unified forces, said the graduation of the necessary unified forces will take place in the first week of November.
For his part, South Sudan army spokesman, Major Gen. Lul Ruai Koang attributed delays in the graduation of the forces at the training camps to financial constraints, lack of consensus and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the graduation of the unified forces will depend on the availability of funds and resolution of disagreements on responsibility-sharing of unified command.
The body monitoring South Sudan’s peace deal (R-JMEC) has, in the past, expressed concern over dire conditions in training sites that have forced a sizable number of soldiers to desert due to lack of food, medicines and shelters.
South Sudan, under the 2018 peace deal, is supposed to graduate 83,000 unified forces drawn from the various parties to take charge of security during the ongoing transitional period.
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