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SPLM-IO to canton its forces outside Juba in two weeks

SPLA-IO forces in undated photo. PHOTO//unknown

The spokesperson of the SPLM/A in Opposition says their soldiers will be taken out of Juba to a cantonment site in the northern part of the town within the next two weeks.

Under the peace agreement signed in August 2015, the cantonment of government and IO forces was supposed to take place within 90 days from the day of singing. But the process has delayed.

Since the eruption of violence in Juba in April, 2016, new anti-government groups cropped up.

However, the Transitional Government of National Unity has insisted on proceeding with the implementation of the Joint Security Arrangement for Juba; “one of our priorities is the integration of the SPLA-IO process to speed up implementation of the peace agreement.” the Deputy Minister of Defense, James Toi stated while addressing the 34th anniversary of the SPLA Day on Thursday.

Currently, the process applies to SPLM/A-IO forces under the First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai.

The TGoNU has also appealed to other opposition groups to move their forces to cantonment sites, while citing shortage of funds as the main challenge.

“We will have to take in phases of which we are now working on 750 which is a battalion,” said Dickson Gatluak, SPLM-IO spokesperson.

He said their party is clearing a site in Molbou near Juba, with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 soldiers.

“And after we finish a battalion, then we have to arrange for another battalion which is 750. So tomorrow [Saturday] we will see how far is the progress. We are going [Saturday] tomorrow.”

The Deputy Minister of Defense, Toi said the process of contonment and integration is an essential part of the peace agreement that needs to be urgently implemented.

“The ongoing reform in the defense sector sectors significantly needs the commitment and determination of the leadership to achieve the goal,” Toi said.

Mr. Toi also called on anti-government elements to denounce violence and join the peace process.