EAC, IGAD, and about six East African presidents are invited to the South Sudan graduation of forces today.
According to the national communications minister and government spokeswoman, none of the presidents in the area invited by President Salva Kiir to witness and grace the graduation of the Unified Forces in Juba on Tuesday had confirmed their participation as of Monday morning.
Micheal Makuei said on Monday that he could not know how many presidents would attend or who would send delegates.
“As of now, the invited dignitaries have not confirmed their attendance at the graduation of the Unified Forces tomorrow (Tuesday), but the president has invited all the leaders of the East African Community and the regional grouping IGAD, which includes Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan,” he said. “The leaders of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan have also been invited.”
“Whether they will attend or send representatives is something we do not know, and we will probably find out later today,” he said.
Makuei informed those who had questioned the graduation of the military that it will take place on Tuesday.
“We want to reassure those who have been skeptical about the graduation of the Unified Forces that it will take place tomorrow, August 30,” he said. “The soldiers are currently finishing up their last rehearsals on the ground, and they will be graduating tomorrow.”
According to the minister, the 50,000 personnel who comprise the Unified Forces are now dispersed around the country, but those who will be distributed tomorrow will be stationed in and around Juba City.
“The outside troops will be graded in their respective sectors.” “The graduation ceremony in Juba will be meaningful for all of the United Forces,” he stated. “My appeal to South Sudanese civilians, especially those in Juba City, is to attend the graduation of the Unified Forces on Tuesday since this is the execution of the security mechanisms in the renewed peace deal.”
Makuei said that the withdrawal of the Unified Forces is a significant step in the execution of the peace deal, and the president declared the day a national holiday.
“It doesn’t mean you should remain at home, but it does mean you should come and attend the occasion,” he suggested.
The information minister also said that the SSPDF peacekeeping battalion heading for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is ready and that the finances for its deployment were authorized by the cabinet of ministers last Friday.
“The Cabinet has authorized more than $6 million for the deployment of the SSPDF peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and they will go when they are ready,” he stated.
Meanwhile, SSPDF Spokesman Gen. Lul Ruai revealed that more than 10,000 of Greater Equatoria’s 27,000 soldiers would be graduating in Juba, taken from training camps in Central Equatoria State.
“The Unified Forces leaving tomorrow are from Gorom, Rajaf, Rambur, and Lologo training camps, and they are performing final rehearsals.”
According to Gen. Lul, the army is experiencing logistical issues as a result of floods in certain regions of the nation, and has been unable to supply uniforms, food, and other supplies to training sites.
“The route to the Owinykibul training camp in Equatoria has been wrecked by floods, therefore the Unified Forces there will relocate to Torit to be graduated,” he said. “Because of floods in Upper Nile State, the Unified Forces will relocate to Malakal town to be graduating.”
Gen. Ruai said that the deployment of the Unified Forces would be determined by the security situation in various sections of the nation.
“We have spots where there are escalated conflicts between citizens and where civilians even fight with the army,” he added.
Gen. Ruai urged the soldiers who would not be sent out tomorrow to remain patient, saying their time would come shortly.
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