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S. Sudan military initiates biometric identification system

January 22, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan army is to set up a biometric system to register all soldiers on its payroll, an official said Monday.

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South Sudan’s defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, speaks after a cabinet meeting in the capital, Juba, on 17 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)

Defense minister, Kuol Manyank Juuk told reporters in the capital, Juba that the military would be installing a biometric personal identification system that will handle the registration of all soldiers.

“There is already a room down there with some equipment and they need more money and training of the personnel is to take place so that they are dispatched to a unit to take the general information of every soldier,” Juuk said, but did not say when the process will begin.

As part of the registration process, however, Juuk said the army will have to train some personnel on how to use the gadgets acquired.

“It will be a technical team that will go including a doctor to determine the physical and mental fitness of a soldier and that is where we will know who are there physically and what is their fitness to continue as soldiers,” he stressed.

Last year, President Salva Kiir, also commander in chief of the army ordered that all soldiers be registered to fight corruption in the army.

In the past, however, a number of senior military officers have been implicated in corruption cases, involving “ghost” names on pay rolls.

The SPLA was founded as a guerrilla movement in 1983 and was a key participant of the second Sudanese civil war. As of 2013, South Sudan military was estimated to have 210,000 soldiers, as well as an unknown number of personnel in the small South Sudan Air Force.

In May 2017, it was reported that President Kiir was restructuring the army and changing its name from the SPLA to the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF). In August, however, it was reported that the new name would be South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

(ST)