SPLA soldiers redeploy south from the Abyei area in line with the road map to resolve the Abyei crisis.
SPLA soldiers redeploy south from the Abyei area in line with the road map to resolve the Abyei crisis.

South Sudan has embarked on the cantonment of unified forces in an effort to push for lasting peace after about five years of civil unrest.

Gabriel Jok Riak, chief of general staff of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), said the parties have agreed to visit the border town of Yei on Wednesday for the cantonment and assembling of forces in Panyiome, including a training center to be located in Marobo, southwest of the country. Riak disclosed that the second phase will include two cantonment sites in greater Baherl el Ghazal and the greater Upper Nile will have four, and greater Equatoria will have additional three after the pilot plan commence.

“We are planning to kick off the cantonment of forces with the estimate of at least 2,000 or 3,000 but the initial maximum is 5,000 forces per training,” Riak told reporters in Juba. “We have decided that we will visit Yei and proceed to Panyiome where we will then start cantoning the forces. We will also visit the opposition forces camps in the area and start screening them based on the mechanism of joint monitoring ceasefire commission (JMCC),” he added.

James Koang Chuol, SPLA deputy chief of staff, said his party is ready to assemble all their forces as stipulated in the revitalized peace pact. “We are moving on well with the full implementation of the security arrangements. Negotiation has stop and we must finish the rest in the training of the forces to become one army,” said Chuol. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups signed a power-sharing deal in Ethiopia in September.

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