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SSPDF soldiers declare war on hunger as DRC mission postponed

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Wednesday, June 14, 2023

An SSPDF battalion in Western Equatoria State destined for a peacekeeping mission in DR Congo has embarked on farming to fight hunger after the government postponed their mission, according to the mission’s commander.

The forces were deployed to Gangura Payam on the 11th of June last year.

Colonel Johnson told the state media that he received an order not to proceed with the mission to Eastern DR Congo, without stating the reason.

As such, the commander said the forces resorted to farming to produce food for themselves and improve their living standards.

Colonel Malual Johnson said they have so far cultivated 49 acres of maize farm in the Gangura area

Colonel Malual Johnson appealed to the government to provide them with tractors for next year’s agricultural season so that they can farm more than they have done this year.

He said the forces are staying peacefully with the local population

“We arrived in Western Equatoria State on 11th June last year up to now we are staying peacefully with the entire population after our mission was postponed not to enter Congo,” said Col. Johnson.

“We decided to cultivate some crops and this was the first step taken to plant this maize,

“Our cultivation started last March and up to now, we have reached so far 49 fedans of maize and some other vegetable crops,

“We convinced our soldiers that what we can do in our own hands is what can promote our living standards.”

For his part, the Deputy Governor of Western Equatoria State, Dr Kennedy Gaaniko Baime expressed his gratitude to the army for cooperating and living in peace with the locals of Gangura Payam.

He encouraged SSPDF to extend the same spirit to other parts of South Sudan.

The forces stationed in Gangura Payam are part of the initial 700 soldiers selected for the regional peacekeeping mission.

But SSPDF Headquarters in Juba dispatched some 700 soldiers to DR Congo for the regional peacekeeping mission.

The SSPDF soldiers from different units are now part of the East Africa regional task force.

The components of military police, military intelligence, signal corps, engineering corps, administration, logistics, and infantry units – underwent four months of training in Juba.

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