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UK worried about absence of gov’t soldiers at training site

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ambassador Chris Trott with SSPDF and Opposition forces at Gorom training camp at the outskirts of Juba on January 14, 2020. Credit/@ChrisTrott

A diplomat has raised concerns over the absence of the expected number of government soldiers at the VIP training site in Gorom, near Juba.

Ambassador Chris Trott recently visited the site where opposition and government forces are expected to be trained and unified before the formation of the transitional government.

“You have the opposition forces gathering but not enough government forces,” Amb. Trott said in interview.

In June last year, the parties agreed to a 12,000 VIP protection unit which is part of the 83,000 necessary Unified Force.

The VIP Protection Unit will be in charge of providing security to officials of the revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity which is expected to be formed 36 days from now.

But observers noticed that the number of SSPDF soldiers at Gorom training camp are less than that of the opposition groups.

The UK stated that this will slow down the process of unification and deployment of VIP forces.

“Our first call as a result of what we saw in the area is to call on everyone – whether it is for logistical reason or it is a political reason, we want the government to ensure that its troops are moving out of their barracks into the training sites,” he continued.

In October 2019, more than 400 SPLA IO soldiers arrived in Juba to undergo training as part of the VIP Protection Unit.

The unit is drawn from the SSPDF, the SPLA-IO and forces from the Opposition Alliance.

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