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The SPLA-IO demand for nearly 12,000-strong joint VIP protection force is not viable financially, the SSPDF has said.
According to the revitalized peace agreement, the VIP protection force must comprise of security personnel from the government and opposition forces. However, it does not specify the size of the Presidential Protection Unit, PPU.
Similar to the Secret Service in the United States, the PPU would be in charge of providing special protection for the Presidency, which will be made up of President Kiir, Dr. Machar, and 4 other Vice Presidents.
Currently, a government-formed troop comprising of 350 soldiers is waiting for its SPLA-IO counterpart at the Rajaf Police Academy to embark on training exercises.
But recently, the SPLA-IO deputy spokesperson – Colonel Lam Gabriel – argued that a complete and effective joint force would make up to 12,000 soldiers.
“Our position is that in theory, we are in agreement with SPLAM- IO but in practice, it’s very difficult for a force of between 10 to 12000 to be cantoned,” SSPDF Spokesperson, Major General Lul Ruai remarked.
He said mobilizing such a number would require a lot of funds and time to organize.
“To be subjected through selection processes to be trained, deployed within the stipulated period of time will pose a huge logistical, financial, infrastructural and trained manpower challenges, as well as time,” he added.
Maj.Gen. Lul revealed that the current proposed cantonment sites have been “wrongly envisioned to house 3000 men and women.”
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Published Saturday, March 25, 2023
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