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Defense Minister says army free from child soldiers

Author: Patricia John | Published: Saturday, July 30, 2022

Angelina Teny, the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs addressing the 5th governors' forum in Juba on Monday - credit | Office of the FVP Dr. Riek Machar | Nov 22, 2021

The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Angelina Teny has said the national army is no longer recruiting children into the military ranks and files.

Minister Angelina Teny stated her institution is not keeping children in the organized forces anymore.

“I want to say that, we have handled the issue of children in the armed forces, nobody can say that we are keeping children in the arm forces or organized force,” she said while addressing a women event in Juba.

Angelina, who became the first female defense minister in 2020, also says the government is working to eliminate another dark legacy of the army, the issue of conflict-related sexual violence.

Speaking during the first celebration of Women in a Uniform Day in Juba on Thursday, she said the government is dealing with the issue of sexual violence.

“About the conflict-related sexual violence, we are dealing with it, and when the section committee and the security council came to review the arms embargo, they acknowledge that there a positive work going in the area of prohibition of sexual violence in conflict.”

On Thursday, thousands of women serving in the organized forces gathered to celebrate the Women in Uniform Day for the first time.

It was under the theme; “Promoting effective participation of women in the security sector for sustainable peace in South Sudan.”

Angelina said the day was a great opportunity to formulate new policies that require transformation within the arm forces.

“This is an opportunity because we are formulating new policies, we are working on new political policies according to the agreement, it will give us a chance and the agreement also require us to do the transformation in the organized forces,” said the defense minister.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of South Sudan Women’s Coalition, Lona Elia said they organized the event for the women to celebrate their achievement in the security sector.

“We have convened this historical event to bring us together today, not to complain about the harsh injustice that women have subjected to for generations,

“Whether in politics, social life or in security sector but to share their participation, contribution and achievement in the security sector, we recognizing that women are pillars of peace, women are pillars of development and women are the pillars of security.”

According to the Institute for Security Studies, South Sudan has failed to unify the country’s armed groups into a single force with a central goal of ensuring national security.

The research think-tank said, task of security sector reform has been frustrated by a militarized political culture that could see political tensions boiling over into armed conflict.

The armed forces have become a powerful instrument aligned mainly to individual leaders rather than the state or central party structures, noted the Institute.

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