Over 50,000 unified forces to graduate this month -RTGoNU

The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) has set August 30 as the date to graduate the first batch of the unified forces in South Sudan.

The decision was announced on Wednesday after an extended meeting of the Presidency in Juba.

52,074 soldiers will be graduated, a milestone required in the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs told the media after the meeting that a mixture of the organized forces will be passed out this month.

“There are 26,580 forces; a mixture of the army, national security and police 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 Gahzal,” he announced.

“So these forces are ready to be graduated and we have agreed.”

This is not the first time the government has announced a date for the graduation of forces. The forces have been in the 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.

Dr. Lomoro said they will follow through with the plan to ensure nothing regarding the graduation is pending.

“We will follow up the discussions of this meeting for 7 days in order for us to be comfortable that issues that might be outstanding will be resolved within these 7 days and that at the end will confirm or resolve or solve any problem that requires solution before the 30th of August.”

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.

But Dr. Lomoro now says the government has resolved to proceed with the graduation despite “embargo.”

“We are not going to wait until the arm embargo is lifted from us, we are a sovereign country. We have taken a sovereign decision and we will graduate them in whichever way,” he stressed.

The expanded meeting of the Presidency was attended by senior officials from the army, national security and other organized, including line Ministries.

“The President has directed that all the units; the army, police, wildlife, prisons, national security, and civil defense to commence meetings as of today to look at the details, requirements and to be able to bring to the committee to make sure that everything else is resolved,” Dr. Lomoro disclosed.

On Monday, 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.