The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces have rejected a decision by IGAD to double the Regional Protection Force, army spokesperson has said.
Early this month, the Sudanese minister of foreign affairs urged the U.N. Security Council to quickly approve a proposal to double the regional protection force to monitor the peace accord in South Sudan.
El- Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed said regional leaders had called for the RPF to be doubled from 4,000 to 8,000 soldiers with Sudan, Uganda, Djibouti, and Somalia contributing troops.
The RPF is mandated to protect key installations such as the airport, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and use all means to prevent attacks from any armed groups.
Speaking to Eye Radio on Monday, the army spokesperson, Major-General Lul Ruai Koang said RPF was not part of the agreement between the government and the United Nations which is also known as SOFA.
“The idea of having the regional protection force was not enshrined in what we call, the status of forces agreement, the SOFA. So they basically wanted to come and duplicate, take over installations that are not even under any threat.”
Gen. Lul said that all installations in Juba are not under any threat.
“They came and wanted to deploy at Juba international airport, which is already being taken care of by UNMISS, they wanted to deploy at Juba bridge, which is being taken care of by the national army, they wanted to deploy at South Sudan broadcasting corporation, which is not under threat.”
In a press release, the army argues that Juba is safe, saying there is no need to increase the number of the troops because Juba is not under threat.
The SSPDF said it prefers the RPF play supportive, supplementary and complementary roles in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.