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SPLM/A-IO cantonment site in Yambio lacks food, water: monitors

November 5, 2019 (YAMBIO) – South Sudan’s armed opposition’s (SPLM/A-IO) cantonment site in Yambio has not received food, portable water or shelter, commanders told the ceasefire monitoring body’s (CTSAMVM’s) Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs).

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The Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC) deputy chair, Maj. Gen Majier Deng Kur at the cantonment site (JMEC photo)

On October 19, members of the MVT reportedly traveled to the SPLM/A-IO’s position at Kediba to discuss cantonment at the site approved by the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC).

Last month, the CTSAMVM chairperson, Desta Abiche Ageno expressed concerns that shortage of food and medicine was forcing opposition fighters to abandon cantonment sites across South Sudan and thus threatening the country’s efforts to build a new army.

At least five cantonment sites, he said, were being deserted by the country’s opposition troops owing to the lack of food and medicine.

"The lack of sufficient logistic support to cantonment sites - especially food and medicine - has not been addressed and CTSAMVM is observing many of those registered forces now leaving designated sites including MirMir, Kendila, Sue, Ngo Alimah and Pantiit," he said.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.

In September last year, the South Sudanese arch-foes signed a revitalized peace agreement, aimed at ending the devastating civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

The parties agreed to commence cantonment of the opposition forces in 25 sites, while government forces are to be cantoned in 10 main barracks spread out in the country, with one for each phase.

As such, it was agreed that a unified national army of 83,000 troops be formed before a transitional unity government is put in place.

The entire process has, however, been marred by delays over lack of funds and logistical constraints ahead of the November 12 deadline.

Last week, the country’s main opposition leader, Riek Machar threatened to pull out of the peace deal if a transitional national unity government is formed minus resolving pending security reforms.

(ST)