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South Sudan Security Arrangements body calls to focus on troops’ cantonment

UNMISS military convoy escorting ceasefire monitors in Kajo-Keji on 16 January 2018 (UNMISS photo)
May 10, 2019 (JUBA) - The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMVM) Friday called to focus on the troops’ cantonment activities during the extended pre-transitional period.

The South Sudanese peace partners and the IGAD Council of Ministers have both approved the extension of the pre-transitional period for six months. Also, they underscored the need for an urgent workshop to define a roadmap and implementation schedules for the pending tasks.

Accordingly, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and the office of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, convened on Friday a two-day workshop for the Joint Security Mechanisms in Juba.

Speaking at the workshop, the CTAMVM head Desta Abiche Ageno defined the matters that his mechanism believe should be prioritized during the extended pre-transitional period.

"The priorities of CTSAMVM during this period are: 1 verification of cantonment activities, such as screening, DDR; 2 verification of unified forces, their training and redeployment and 3) continued verification of ceasefire including vacation of civilian buildings, allegations of SGBV, allegations of use of child soldiers, and allegations of recruitment. (...)," Ageno said.

During his speech, the Ethiopian general long-time spoke about the troops’ cantonment particularly those of the SPLA-IO and the SSOA as the government soldiers have their own garrisons.

He stressed that without the cantonment of the forces of the peace partners the Security Arrangements including troops’ unification cannot be fully implemented.

"The operationalisation of all security mechanisms and the cantonment of forces are therefore the most important and immediate tasks in the implementation of the PCTSA and R-ARCSS," he emphasized.

The reunification of the armed forces under the command of President Salva Kiir was the main demand of the SPLA-IO which had threatened to not take part in the transitional government, pointing to the clashes of July 2016 which stopped the initial implementation of the peace agreement.

The CTSAMVM chief also said the parties have to fully commit to the ceasefire agreement pointing that the government forces are still occupying a number of schools and civil buildings despite orders by senior commanders.

The same for the freedom of movement for CTSAMVM monitoring teams which continue to experience repeated denial of access under various forms of excuses, as he said.

The workshop which will be concluded on Saturday is expected to review current work plans of the mechanisms; challenges experienced and plan on the accomplishment of the pending tasks based on the timeframe agreed upon in Addis Ababa.