CONFUSION, Mars cantonment of forces
By: Nema Juma &Kidega Livingstone
Two months into the extended pre-transitional period, activities in the cantonment areas across the country have remained slow, a senior representative of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance [SSOA] in the ceasefire monitoring body has said.
“It is true that those cantonments will not be occupied unless they are established and as I speak, no cantonment has been established out in terms of basic and necessary needs for the forces to be contained,” said Maj.Gen. David Nyang.
Nyang spoke during the 12th meeting of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) Technical Committee in Juba yesterday.
“The food, none food items and sleeping materials and the storages have not been achieved. The forces will not report to those cantonment sites unless those things are provided and those things will not be provided unless well-wishers and major funders are serious in funding these activities,” he added.
He asked the government to release funds because most of the mechanisms for implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement are facing financial problems.
“We urge TGoNU to release funds to the NPTC in order for the NPTC to disperse the funds to those mechanisms so that they can be able to continue with the process,” Nyang said.
SPLA-IO’s Maj. Gen. Martin Gama Abucha said there was no clear information about progress in the cantonment sites.
“This is very unfortunate. Our teams in the states should know what exactly is happening in every cantonment area so that we can be able to discuss with our team leaders during our sessions to tell us in their areas what is happening, are the forces back or have they been cantoned?” said Abucha.
He said denial of access to the cantonment sites continues in Aweil State, urging the TGoNU to sort it out.
“It is important to raise some issues in the agreement to the next level because the agreement and the Permanent Ceasefire are holding in most parts of this country. There is very important provision of the agreement that does not hold, that is (Cessation of Hostilities) talks about protection of civilians and properties.
“It is almost 18 months and these facilities are still occupied, we should discuss it in detail in the session but the civilians need to return home. Are these facilities still occupied? Can these facilitates be vacated? In the Greater Upper Nile and Central Equatoria there is significant progress in moving out but in Eastern Equatoria none has happened, the Tiger Division still occupies those facilities,” said Gama.
However, Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, CTSAMVM Technical committee Chairman said his team has observed numerous logistical challenges to support the provision of food, water, medicine and shelter from those troops who are already cantoned and those waiting to be cantoned.
“CTSAMVM also observed slow progress of cantonments. We urge the parties and the National Pre-Transitional Committee to address these issues as a matter of urgency,” said Abiche.
The agreement on cessation of Hostilities and protection of civilians and humanitarian access was signed on 21st December, 2017.
Other prohibited actions under Sub Article 2, says the parties shall not occupy any damaged community properties and infrastructure including schools, hospitals business centers, places of worship and any other installations. The parties shall withdraw from any of the above sites that they have occupied.