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Ceasefire monitoring body disappointed over new occupation of civilians houses

By Kitab A Unango

Vacation and demilitarization of civilians’ areas to allow displaced people return home have remained a major challenge following new reports of civilian houses being occupied by armed forces, the ceasefire monitoring body said.

According to the Revitalized Peace Agreement, armed forces-both opposition and government should vacate occupied houses and centers of civilians.

But the armed parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement are reportedly yet to fully adhere to that principle.

Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, Chairperson of Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism (CTSAMVM) expressed his disappointment over what he said “new occupation” of civilians’ buildings taking place in Yei River State.

Speaking in CTSAMVM’s Technical Committee meeting yesterday, Maj, Gen. Abiche accused forces loyal to opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar of reoccupying previously vacated civilians’ buildings and public centers in Kandila village, Yei River State.

“CTSAMVM is disappointed to see further occupation in the last month. Of the 36 buildings reported as occupied when we last met, three have been vacated by the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), but four buildings have been newly occupied by the SSPLM-IO,” Desta said.

“CTSAMVM urges the parties to vacate these buildings immediately to enable the people of South Sudan to resumes their lives.”

Chapter two of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on security arrangement provided that civilians’ areas shall be immediately demilitarized including schools, service centers, and occupied houses, and IDP camps, protections of civilian sites, villages, churches, mosques, ritual centers and livelihood areas.

However Col. Lam Gabriel, Spokesperson of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) refuted the accusation, saying Kandila is the cantonment site where their forces have been assembled awaiting registration and screening processes.

“Kandila is a cantonment site. That one (accusation) is difficult to understand our forces at the moment have directed to assemble at the cantonment site. I don’t know which kind of center they are referring to maybe they are those staying with their families,” Col. Lam said.

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