South Sudan first unified forces to graduate

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South Sudan is set for the graduation of its first batch of unified forces in the country – the national army and the police services.

The graduation scheduled for Tuesday morning in the capital, Juba, is expected to be witnessed by five leaders from the region – who are guarantors of the peace agreement.

A public holiday has been declared to enable the citizens to witness the ceremony.

The unity government in South Sudan was formed in February 2020, but it is yet to create a unified national army.

Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Angelina Teny told reporters on Monday that at least 10,000 soldiers will be graduating during the official ceremony.

READ ALSO:  South Sudan refugees long to return home 10 years after independence

She said the next batch of the unified forces is expected to graduate in the next six months.

A unified force was a key pillar of the revitalised peace deal signed in September 2018 to end five years of the conflict.

Up to 83,000 troops were originally to join the national army, but a new deal reached in April this year agreed on 53,000 soldiers.

Since independence, South Sudan has been scarred by a devastating civil war which saw many thousands of people killed, as warring factions split along ethnic lines.

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