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President Kiir orders South Sudan’s army to integrate ex-rebels

President Salva Kiir speaks at the headquarters of the army in Juba 9 August 2018 (Photo S. Sudan presidency

August 9, 2018 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir who is also the commander-in-chief of the national army has instructed the South Sudanese military to turn their back to the war and prepare themselves to welcome and integrate the former rebels who will join them soon to form one army.

Within 8 months from the beginning of the transitional period, the rebel fighters shall integrate the national army after receiving the necessary training. the quick integration of the armed groups was one the things that Kiir sought to change in the revitalized security arrangements to avoid the repetition of July 2016 bloody clashes.

In a speech he delivered at the headquarters of the South Sudanese army in Juba Kiir briefed the army on the recent agreements on the outstanding issues of governance and security arrangements between the government and the opposition groups.

He underlined his commitment to the full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and stressed that this commitment should be shared by all the parties and all the institution including the army.

The commander-in-chief further said that there would be one army its mission is to defend the nation and no one should consider the integrated former rebels as his enemy.

"The army members have to be united, and you should respect your colleagues who will join you from the opposition," said Kiir recalling that their mission is to defend the territorial integrity and the civilian population.

The South Sudanese army has been accused of war crimes and atrocities against the civilians in the conflict areas.

The security arrangements provide that all the regular forces, army police and security forces have to be built before the end of the 36-month transitional period. After what they will be redeployed throughout the country.

The president further said the army has to take part in the building of roads, bridges and economic infrastructures as well as other vital national projects.

On Thursday, Kiir pardoned the leader of the former rebel group SPLM-IO and called on the opposition members to regain their country.

The South Sudanese parties are still in Khartoum as they have to agree on the implementation matrix and a timetable to implement the revitalized deal.

(ST)