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South Sudan security sector requires reform, report


June 30, 2012 (JUBA) - The Republic of South Sudan still needs to adopt reforms, which in the long run, will play a crucial role in addressing security challenges the country is faced with, the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey said in recent report.

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SPLA soldiers (Reuters)

The working paper entitled; “Work in Progress: Security Force Development in South Sudan through February 2012,” mainly reviews the recent evolution of the country security forces, especially during the last two years.

The document, obtained by Sudan Tribune, gives an overview of the external and internal threats facing South Sudan government as of early 2012, clearly outlining the challenges facing the security forces categorised in terms of location and geography.

Most of the country’s security threats, it says, are “conventional, insurgent, and internal security threats,” mainly emanating from border conflict with the Government of Sudan, militia and proxy forces, inter and intra-ethnic fighting and security forces cohesion.

“Though substantial security reform plans are in motion, detailed, strategic security and defense reviews are needed as soon as possible to provide risk assessments of existing initiatives. Such reviews would probably prompt urgent modification of current plans,” the paper, authored by John A. Snowden, partly reads.

Despite what it described as “poor coordination,” among South Sudan security forces, the latter is also credited having reportedly passed key national internal security tests by demonstrating extraordinary robustness under tremendous pressure, especially during the 2010 elections, the January 2011 referendum and the independence celebrations held six months later.

Currently, Small Arms Survey notes, the external and internal security challenges facing the world’s newest nation prevent the possibility of a “robust thorough security sector reform.”

“Piecemeal reforms and transformation efforts over the last six years have, in some ways, weakened the security forces’ ability to respond to threats, which will remain their primary objective for the short term, at least,” it says.

The 56-page document also analyses the development of security decision-making structures and the evolution of the security forces, in particular the South Sudan army (SPLA) and South Sudan Police Service (SSPS), with specific focus on organisational and conceptual evolution, strength and composition, budgets, and personnel and equipment accountability.

However, while looking at the role of other organised forces such as South Sudan Prisons Service and South Sudan Wildlife Service, the Small Arms Survey says the two “reserve” forces still suffer from poor infrastructure, overcrowding, and unskilled prison officers.

“While progress has been made since 2007 to address these challenges and implement sustainable reforms, this has been largely initiated and sustained by international partners’ funding,” notes the Working Paper.

A recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) exposed the problem within South Sudan prisons, reportedly characterized by flawed processes, unlawful detentions, and dire conditions requiring the urgent need to improve the new nation’s fledgling justice system.

Alison Magaya, South Sudan’s Interior minister described the HRW findings as “not objective” and outlined a series of measures, which he said are in the making to improve the situation within the country’s prisons.

Meanwhile, Small Arms Survey recommends that large-scale Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) be carried out to reduce security-related spending (and particularly defence costs). It recommends up to 150,000 personnel.

It also urges South Sudan government to adopt operational-level planning and implementation in all security forces, which is reportedly still lacking within the current mindset of the SPLA.

“Strategic and policy-related objectives occasionally translate to tactical action, but always with a focus on the attrition of opposing forces, which is invariably the most costly option,” it says.

“A doctrinal shift towards the employment of key elements of operational art is likely to lead to greater military effectiveness and accelerate the reform process.”


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  • 1 July 2012 06:58, by john k

    South Sudan is a free state, although we have been struggling with little problems of insecurity that have been sponsored by Khartoum, things will be okay soon.

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  • 1 July 2012 07:01, by George Bol

    The SPLA trained in Bunga, Bilfam, Dhing, Dima, Jima, Raad, and Awinybul are professional army ,but the one who have trained in Hegligh by Matiop Nhial and gatdet, the malitia of tanganyang train in malakal villages, the White army of Riek machar, the militia of Wani Konga trained in teregege villages, the militia trained in Pachoda locality plus one week trained in khartoum subburb are the ill tr

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    • 1 July 2012 09:35, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

      Not only security institutions should reflect true face of all South Sudan ethnic composition but also the other institutions of the government of South Sudan. Most the the previous soldiers who initiated liberation are either illiterate or semi-illiterate and should be changed by the right people to make south sudan reflect a good name.

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    • 1 July 2012 20:45, by Bolman

      to mindless mr Bol please try to controlling yourself before bullets hit your ass those of Matip they are well training solidiers than what you talking about if u er really heartful south sudan fellow u can’t tells nonsence insultation to yr future leaders who service yr ass from Arabian North without them there is no so call newnation of today the issue of insucrity is something gvt may workout o

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  • 1 July 2012 07:03, by Fighter

    The reason behind chaos in Sudan and South Sudan is the fact that, the wrongly so-called security are actually criminal gangs who are human butchers. Their only job is to rape, kill and loot. That is what is happening now in South Sudan. It is worse in Juba and Jonglei because of Salva Kiir, Kuol Manyang and Riek Machar as the SPLA gang ring leaders of doom

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    • 1 July 2012 07:46, by zulu

      The two nations have nothing in common. ilkie the spla security organ because it is prompt and can penetrate the security organs of Sudan. Any changes must not minize the effort to percieve and circumavent sudan’s intelligence.

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      • 1 July 2012 09:00, by athoreyemodobong

        The internal insecurity challenges we face are mostly due to the rivalry between the two major tribes of South Sudan.The leaders of Dinkas and Nuers would bring as many youths as they could from their home villages so that they are given guns and uniforms and get deployed in any of the organised security forces without proper training, just only to protect the high posts held by the relatives.

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  • 1 July 2012 08:25, by Wiyual

    This report is bias. South Sudan just emerged from long struggle war. Why those researchers, coming to S. Sudan in order make their salaries, always reports such meaningless every time and then. We have depended this region for more than 30 yrs without salaries and we managed to fenced off the enemies. Please leave us alone!

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    • 1 July 2012 10:26, by Kikiji longiro


      Who told you that this movement started as a zero movement.Please don,t be a big liar. How much did Magisto & Gadaffi spended for this movement to be called a movement of people. Don,t you know that the memeraduim of understanding done by SPLA/M over the NGOs was because of Money.

      Take care before analist about SPLA/M security system.


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      • 1 July 2012 10:36, by Kikiji longiro

        When the SPLA/M first Lady plus Dr.Garang visited Finland the representertive of the SPLA/M went to the hotel & picked the first lady for shopping,suddenly her hand bag fell down infront of the guy. When the guy saw the huge money that lady was holding.He was almost to run away from her.Please don,t say Spla/m is what your are talking about here.


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  • 1 July 2012 10:07, by Kikiji longiro

    Dear All,

    Any Country in this world can,t spoil unless it,s security is not good securty.Dinkas & Nuers must not play with a fire. The issue of South Sudanese suffering too much is because Reik, Poulino & Salva Kiir brought their security system in their bushes personel choice but not because these security system are the national security qualified people.

    These securities are all militias.

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    • 2 July 2012 04:02, by daniell

      An independence nation still act an unprofessional way.This is not fair at all.If the reform is going to happen;it need to be a reform which reflect professionalism,integrity,duty of care; etceteras.Thanks.Best regard always.

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