JUBA – There are reports of tensions at Mapel military training centre as bitter rival forces of South Sudan – government troops and their rebel counterparts – meet to prepare for first phase of training to form the unified national army.
The UN peacekeeping mission has confirmed that troops from the South Sudanese government and the SPLM-In-Opposition in the Upper Nile region are now joining the training centres in Wau.
As part of the ongoing efforts to establish a unified national army, by the end of December 2019, instructors were deployed in the training centres and fighters of the two peace started to arrive in Wau.
The UNMISS on Friday released a report saying that army soldiers and SPLM-IO fighters are now arriving at the training centres in Wau.
“Out of the 1,046 officers mobilized from both government and opposition 460 are from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition and 586 from the South Sudan People’s Defence Force,” said the report.
The troops are coming mainly from the Ngo Halima and Grinity cantonment sites respectively.
The military personnel will be trained in Maple while policemen, prison officers and fire brigade personnel will be based at the Masanu Beera training centre on the outskirts of Wau.
Last December, the leaders of the main peace partners agreed to intensify efforts to implement the outstanding pre-transitional tasks. Also, they pledged to form the national unity government next February
The SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar and the National Democratic Movement of Lam Akol had been the two peace partners that objected the formation of the transitional on 12 November 2019.
For Akol, the issue of the states and their boundaries was crucial for his community while the SPLM-IO was insisting on the formation of one unified army before to launch the three-year transition.
The frustration generated by the delay in the implementation of the security arrangements led to the spilt of some SPLM-IO local commanders in the Upper Nile, in particular, Maiwut.
Also, the defection of some SPLM-IO local commanders to the government – as it was the case of Maj Gen Ochan Puot – increased the volatility of the security situation as some report pointed to the possible resumption of hostilities there.
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