SPLM-IO leaders in Wau express concerns over delays in reintegration of forces in meeting with head of UNMISS
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) leaders in Wau are worried about the delay in the process to move forces to designated cantonment areas to pave the way for the formation of the national army in South Sudan. This was disclosed during the visit of the Head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to Wau.
Mr. David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS met with both political and military commanders of the SPLM/A-IO and discussed progress and challenges attached to the implementation of the peace agreement, signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018.
“Till now there is a delay in the formation of the national army, thus we call for the deployment of the regional protection force to help provide security for the coming Transitional Government of National Unity,” said Hilary Claudio, the opposition minister of information in Wau.
Mr. Hillary stressed the need for rule of law to deal with impunity in the country, as he appealed for a speedy establishment of hybrid court.
“The problem that we see is the slow process in implementing some articles of the security arrangements, like the issue of cantonment area. Our forces are not able to move to the cantonment due to lack of funds,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Daniel Dongo, Commander of the SPLA-IO Division 6A in Wau.
Gen. Dongo raised the issue of delay in the process to disengage the forces, which is necessary to allow free movement of civilians to their respective areas to prepare for the farming season.
“The issue of entry of the cattle herders from Tonj state with guns into the territory of Wau causing insecurity in the area is a potential threat to the peace agreement,” Gen. Dongo cautioned.
“Today we are left with about 30 days to the end of the pre-interim period, yet the military have not yet been taken to the cantonment sites,” said Anthony Fada, SPLM-iO governor in Wau.
Mr. Fada stressed that the presence of the army in the schools, churches and primary health centres was still a threat to the movement of civilians in the areas of Bagari, Bessilia and Bazia counties
Mr. Fada also appealed for humanitarian assistance in the areas of education and health to rescue the situation of the citizens in the opposition-controlled areas.
“I agreed with the government and with you, general, that we are behind schedule and that is worrying, but we shouldn’t lose hope,” said Mr. David Shearer, Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan.
Mr. Shearer noted that the delay was not only in Wau, but in some other parts of the country as well, as he assured that UNMISS has provided two military experts to offer technical assistance on the issue of re-integration of forces.