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Peace evaluation body says soldiers are deserting cantonment sites

SPLA-IO cantonment site of Lowereng in Kapoeta South after an attack on 22 March 2021 (ST photo) May 22, 2021 (JUBA) - The head of South Sudan’s peace monitoring and evaluation body deplored the failure of the government to implement the security arrangement, pointing that combatants are abandoning cantonment sites.

On 20 May, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) held its 17th monthly meeting in Juba, to discuss the ongoing implementation of the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018.

In his remarks at the opening sessions, RJMEC Interim Chairperson Charles Tai Gituai said disappointed with the continued delay in the implementation of security arrangements (TSAs, the unification of forces, in particular.

"No graduation and redeployment for Phase One of the Necessary Unified Forces has taken place. Cantonment sites and training centres continue to be abandoned due to a chronic lack of food, medicines, shelter facilities and hygiene items for women," Gituai said.

"The conditions in both cantonment sites and training centres continue to deteriorate and can only get worse with the onset of the rainy season," he further added.

He urged the transitional government to allocate the needed funds for the implementation of the security arrangements and to ensure the DDR process.

The government says unable to finance the crucial security arrangements has called for international support. But Juba is requested first to curb corruption and make more transparency in the management of the oil income.

Gituai welcomed the formation of the new transitional parliament and commencement of the Permanent Constitution-making expressing hope that it will drive to make progress in the peace enforcement process.

"Now is the time to continue to build political will, strengthen trust and confidence, implement tasks concurrently, especially completing the TSAs, and providing humanitarian assistance, in order to deliver peace dividends for the people of South Sudan," he added.