Insufficient funds stall graduation of unified forces in South Sudan

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JUBA, March 31 (Xinhua) — The long-awaited graduation of unified forces to take charge of security during the ongoing transitional period in South Sudan has been delayed amid financial constraints, peace monitor said Wednesday.

Charles Tai Gituai, head of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), said that lack of sufficient funding has stalled graduation of the unified forces expected to comprise 83,000 personnel.

“Training of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) has stalled, and no graduation or redeployment plans have been announced. The lack of sufficient funding to the security mechanisms is a constraint,” said Gituai in a statement issued in Juba.

He said that cantonment sites and training centers continue to face logistical constraints, such as food, medicines and sufficient shelter, noting that women combatants continue to lack appropriate facilities and personal hygiene items.

Widespread sub-national violence has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, in addition to floods, COVID-19 related restrictions, acute food insecurity and economic challenges. The challenges are impacting humanitarian movement and operations and also threatening the safety of aid workers and assets.

“The operationalization of the state security committees will be instrumental in alleviating the situation,” he said.

South Sudan’s transitional unity government despite being formed in February 2020 has not yet reconstituted the parliament to enact much-needed governance and economic reforms.

Gituai called for the quick reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). He urged parties to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement to adhere to the 35 percent representation for women in the transitional unity government.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar, leading to split in the army, deaths and displacement of civilians internally and externally. Enditem

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