The Joint Transitional Security Committee has directed soldiers and commanders who have deserted the training camps to report back within 48 hours to prepare for graduation.
Thousands of soldiers forces have been in the cantonment and training camps since 2018. Others have abandoned their posts to fend for themselves due to poor living conditions characterized by lack of shelter, food, and medication.
Last week, the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) announced it will graduate 52,074 soldiers on August 30 – a would be milestone in the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.
The first batch will be a mixture of Army, National Security Service, and Police.
Lieutenant General Dr. Olaw Adiang, Head of Secretariat of Joint Transitional Security Committee told the media on Friday that they have received the necessary requirements for the graduation and the final list for the deployment of forces.
“We want to inform our soldiers and commanders who have been in the training centers for all these 3 years that the time has come for your suffering to come to an end and graduate. If you deserted the training center, please go back within 48-hours to get ready for graduation,” he announced.
Those who will graduate this month include 26,580 forces in 9 centers of Greater Equatoria, 15,682 in 5 stations in Greater Upper Nile and 9,812 in 3 centers in Greater Bhar El Ghazal.
“Today [August 19] we have received the final list for deployment of forces according to military arrangement from JDB. Tomorrow and next tomorrow we will take to the training centers so that those present will be told their ranks and their deployment sides, squad, platoon, company, battalion, brigade and division,” Lieutenant General Dr. Olaw mentioned.
“So that’s why everybody has to be around. And if you are not there, you will miss your right.”
Major General Ajak Deng Biar, Chief of Military Production and team leader for Equatoria training site said the the Presidential Adviser on National Security Affairs will visit Rajab training site next week to assess the ongoing preparations for the graduation.
“Those in Rajab, I want to tell you that the presidential adviser on security Tut Gatluak will come to you on Wednesday to see how ready are you and confirm to you that the graduation is at the door. So all the soldiers and trainers should go back to training site,” he disclosed.
This is not the first time the government has announced a date for the graduation of forces. In the past, the government claimed it could not graduate the unified forces due to lack of firearms. It blamed the international community for placing several arms embargo on South Sudan. The government later said it does not have the requisite amount of money to graduate the forces.
However, Lt.Gen. Dr. Olaw expressed confidence that the graduation will take place as slated.
“We have received the budget for graduation, food and uniforms are ready. I believe many people have lost hope because the graduation has been announced several times and it never happened, but this time I want assure you that this one is serious and it will happen as planned.”
Early this month, South Sudan’s humanitarian and development partners called on the unity government to demonstrate its commitment to implement the agreement on its own, in order to attract international goodwill.