Lack of funds stalled graduation of unified forces, says JDB

A joint defense board, a body that oversees the successful integration of unified forces in the revitalized agreement, says lack of funds is stalling the graduation of the unified army.

This came after the joint defense board announced last week that they are set to graduate the long-awaited unified forces across the country.

General Lul Ruai Koang is the spokesperson for South Sudan Defense Forces (SSPDF). He says the national transitional committee (NTC has not provided funding to start the screening and other logistical needs.

He said the secretariat for the joint defense board is in discussion with the NTC chairperson and political leadership to mobilize resources for the exercise. He did not provide an estimated amount needed for the graduation of forces.

He says the security arrangement team can’t suggest any new timeline until they have secured the graduation budget.

“This stage, I can’t tell the date. You know I announced the date last month on the instruction of joint defense board chairperson with the directive from the presidency.”

South Sudan civil societies activist says failure by the parties to establish a unified army is a tactical attempt to extend the duration of the transitional unity government.

Edmund Yakani is the Executive Director for Community Empowerment and Progress Organization CEPO. He warned the parties to stop delaying tactics and embark on the full implementation of the peace agreement. He says the unity government should avail the budget for the graduation of unified forces.

There are 83,000 unified forces drawn from various parties to create unified national forces to take security during the transitional period.