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SSPDF launch biometric registration of soldiers

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

SSPDF soldiers stand in a parade near Juba, South Sudan | Credit | Eye Radio

The army headquarters has launched the biometric registration of all its forces starting with Juba on Monday.

A biometric registration includes a combination of unique features of identifying a person using fingerprints, DNA, and signatures.

According to the army, the process will help it keep record of how many soldiers are in the country, and simplify the reorganization of forces.

For years, the SSPDF has failed to retain an official data base that shows details and the number of soldiers in the country.

Last year, President Salva Kiir directed the army to create special badge numbers for each soldier as a way of fighting corruption in the SSPDF pay role system.

The new system enables regular authentication of soldiers, avoids duplications of names through fingerprint scanning, and ensures that the assistance reaches the intended soldiers.

Major General Lul Ruai, SSPDF spokesperson said the move will benefit the ordinary soldier.

“We want to make sure that we have a parade that is not inflated by some individuals within the service, so when we get the accurate parade -we can eradicate the ghost names and then pay salaries based on accurate parade,” he said.

The army -just like other sectors of the government -has year after year failed to remit salaries to regular forces on monthly basis.

Anti-corruption campaigners have accused top army officials of diverting money meant to pay the soldiers into their private account.

Last week, members of the national parliament staged a protest against the new financial year budget saying civil servants, including soldiers and other security personnel have not been paid for the last 6 months.

Maj.Gen. Lul told Eye Radio that the new system will also ensure soldiers are paid their dues after service.

“We are also doing it for the propose of pension or preparation of the golden handshake for our servicemen and women who are leaving the service,” he said.

In the next 5 months, the SSPDF is expected to accommodate soldiers from all forces as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.

The new unified army will be made up of a known number of soldiers who have been trained into a professional force.

So far the parties have agreed to a 12,000 special protection unit that will be assembled, trained and deployed within before November 2019.

“It is also very important for us to have this parade so that we facilitate the purchase of combat service support items such as; logistics, food, and uniforms that are required for our forces ,” Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai added.

On Thursday, some MPs said soldiers have been forced to “cut down trees to make charcoal for their children to survive.”

Residents have also witnessed that most of the charcoal supplied to Juba are sold by men in uniform, who even use government vehicles to conduct the “illicit” business.

Two years ago, President Salva Kiir issued a directive to all security organs to seize and arrest anyone found engaged in charcoal business -most of them soldiers.

But the MPs attributed this to poverty and the absence of salary for the regular soldiers.

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