Army protest against increment of Regional Protection Force
Major General Lul Ruai Koang, the army spokesperson (Photo: Facebook page)
By Morris Dogga
The Army has protested against the resolution of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Chief of Defence Forces that would allow its members to contribute additional force to boost protection during the implementation of the revitalized agreement.
The deployment of the 4,000-strong Regional Protection Force [RPF] was authorized by the UN Security Council in its Resolution (UNSC) 2304 /2016 following renewed clashes between government and opposition forces in Juba in July 2016.
The Chiefs of Defense Staff/Forces of the IGAD Countries met in Khartoum on the 22nd October 2018 where they resolved that the IGAD shall engage the UN Security Council to ensure that RPF were fully deployed to execute its mandate in accordance to the UNSC resolutions.
The Chiefs of Defense Staff/Forces also resolved that the IGAD shall request for further review of its mandate to allow Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Djibouti to contribute forces to enhance security throughout the implementation of the agreement.
In a position statement issued by the office of the army spokesperson yesterday Major General Lul Raui Koang, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) said it was committed to working with the RPF but objects any increment to the force.
“SSPDF objects increment of the size of the RPF but support UNSC Resolution 2406 (2018) which maintained overall UNMISS force ceiling of 17,000 that includes 4,000 troops and the police ceiling of 2,101 personnel,” reads part of the position.
According to the statement, the SSPDF demanded for a review of the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) in order to legalize and enshrine and reflect RPF’s specific tasks and roles.
The army further demanded that the RPF should play a supportive, supplementary and complementary role in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in regard to civilian protection and also consider deploying them in Hotspots.
The deployment of the RPF was meant to provide protection to key facilities in Juba and the main routes into and out of the city.
The forces were also meant to strengthen the security of UN protection of civilians’ sites and other UN premises.