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Unified forces going hungry in cantonment sites-CTSAMVM

CTSAMVM Board members attending the 28th board meeting

By Yiep Joseph

Ceasefire monitors, CTSAMVM has deplored with alarm shortage of food and medicines for the forces at the cantonment sites across the country.

In his opening remark during the board meeting, yesterday, the chairperson of Ceasefire & Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring & Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), Maj. Gen. Teshome Gemechu Aderie Chairperson of CTSAMVM raised alarm over the lack of food and medicines at cantonment sites.

“Since the last Board, the very dire situation at the cantonment sites continues with a lack of food and medicines,” Teshome said.

“The logistical concerns raised at previous Board meetings remain the same because most of the training centers report a serious lack of food, shelter and other essential services” he added.

General Aderie said there were reported clashes between SSPDF and SPLM/A-IO at some Cantonment Sites which need necessary briefing and response by the parties.

The 28 CTSAMVM board meetings according to the chairperson would focus on issues such as the current status of the Permanent Ceasefire.

The meeting will also touch on recent situations in Upper Nile State, Tambura, alleged incidents involving NAS in Central Equatoria, the status of implementation of the Pre-Transitional Security Arrangements.

The board will deliberate on the situation in Magenis and in Tambura and a summary of SGBV incidents, investigations and reports, incidents and updates on investigations since the last Board among others.

General Aderie lamented the continued occupation of civilians’ buildings in some parts of the country citing it as one of the serious violations.

“Talking about the issue of occupied civilian buildings, the total number of occupied civilian buildings by the SPLM/A-IO and, SSPDF or other government security forces remains unchanged since the last Board meeting,” he said.

“Our briefing also includes four violation reports, three involving violations in Central Equatoria and one in Western Equatoria. These will be discussed in detail during the reports briefing” he added.

He revealed that the recently signed agreement in Khartoum between the SPLM-IG and SPLM/A-IO Kit- Gwang on the status of forces is holding and cited that the board has not registered any violation yet.

“As many of you are aware there were clashes between the Kit- Gwang and SPLM/A-IO in December 2021. None have been reported since 16th of January 2022 when an agreement was signed in Khartoum between the SPLM-IG and SPLM/A-IO Kit- Gwang on the status of forces” he said.

He appreciated and encouraged the move by the Community of St Egidio to work with CTSAMVM, RJMEC, IGAD and SSOMA to resume the Rome process.

On Friday, March 5, 2021, during an exclusive interview with Eye Radio, South Sudan’s Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs has admitted that the cantonment sites for the unified forces have been deserted.

Angelina Teny said many soldiers who were waiting for graduation have abandoned the training camps due to lack of food.

“I don’t even want to talk about cantonment because cantonments have been abandoned because of food, maybe people will only come back once food logistics is provided,” Angelina Teny told Eye Radio.

The defence minister described the failure to graduate the forces as one of the main challenges hindering the implementation of the security arrangements.

There are 34 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country.

Some of the soldiers in these sites sleep under trees and are forced to shelter with locals in their mud huts, known as “tukuls” when it rains.

Angelina stated that among them are women who also live under such conditions of no shelter, water, medication, among others.

In October 2019, three senior SPLA-IO officers in Ngiri cantonment site in Amadi also died due to a lack of medicines and poor sanitation there.

Last year, instructors at Rejaf unified police training centre –with about 7,000 government and opposition forces –said two trainees died because of poor hygiene and lack of enough medicines.

In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio yesterday, Minister Angelina Teny says the conditions at the cantonment camps are worst for female trainees.

National Transitional Committee (NTC) led by President Salva Kiir’s security advisor Tut Gatluak reported a lack of funds on several occasions. 

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