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Ceasefire monitors concerned over slow progress in establishing cantonment sites

August 6, 2019 (JUBA) – The body monitoring South Sudan’s ceasefire (CTSAMVM) has expressed strong fears over the slow progress in the implementation of the security arrangements in the peace agreement.

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3rd CTSAMVM Board Meeting in Juba on 22 January 2019 (Photo CTSAMVM)

The chairman of the CTSAMVM, Gen. Abiche Ageno also said of the 33 cantonment sites that were assessed, only 31 of them were found to be suitable for the forces at the time the assessment was done.

Abiche made the remarks on Monday while addressing the 13th technical committee meeting of ceasefire monitoring body in Juba.

“At the time of assessment, 31 were found to be suitable and 2 were unsuitable due to lack of water or suitable location. Some cantonment sites will need to be reassessed because of the wet season,” he said.

The warring parties agreed on May 3 to extend the pre-transitional period for another six months to address outstanding issues like security arrangements, which include assembling and screening of forces.

Ageno urged parties to open cantonment sites and ensure that assembling points for the forces are implemented within the remaining four months of the extended pre-transitional period.

The CTSAMVM official said despite challenges posed by the rainy season, a number of civilian buildings have been vacated by the South Sudan army (SSPDF) and the National Security Service (NSS).

According to Abiche, out of the 83 buildings identified by CTSAMVM as being occupied by the forces, 47 of them have been vacated.

“These figures change daily as the CTSAMVM is constantly monitoring and updating our data as our team gather and verify information,” told the meeting on Monday.

The CTSAMVM is mandated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to monitor and verify the implementation of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities as per the peace deal.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

However, in accordance with the September 2018 peace agreement, opposition leader Machar will be reinstated as vice president of South Sudan.

(ST)