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South Sudan army chief calls for unity in command

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South Sudanese soldiers (SSPDF) singing pro-war song (AFP file photo)

August 19, 2021 (JUBA) - The Chief of Defense Forces in South Sudan has called for unity in command, saying it was time to unite and coordinate efforts to restore the country’s security.

General Santino Deng Wol, who was speaking to troops on Tuesday in Juba directed military officers to see themselves as colleagues with primary objectives to protect lives and properties of the people while defending territorial integrity of the nation.

Wol told troops of the upcoming reorganization of the armed forces stipulated in the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, pointing to a necessity to have unified command with view of reorganizing and restricting the army into a professional army.

The revitalized peace agreement envisioned a unified command drawn from forces loyal to president Salva Kiir, those under the command of his first deputy in the coalition government and those from the umbrella alliance of South Sudan Opposition. All the troops, once unified and deployed will be under the overall command and directive control and authority of one of commander in chief.

This new structure will once unified will abolish parallel command currently the feature of the existing armed groups.

The statement of army chief of defense forces following a statement in which President Salva Kiir had urged his first deputy Riek Machar and vice president for service cluster and those other armed groups participating in the coalition government their nomination and submit the names of those they would wish to participate in the unified command so that the process to expedite the unification of the command of all forces.

Wol told troops to consider themselves equal to others and that nobody was better the other. He urged military to therefore embrace spirit of cooperation and coordination

“No one is better than the other…put that in your mind, said Wol. “The task you are going to do requires cooperation among each other. This is what I want to tell you, and I hope it is clear.”

The mission of the security forces, according to him is to serve the country until such time they retire and give way to others to pick up from where they stopped.

“We want to serve this country until when our time is up so that the next generation of the military will come and take over. We will go and take a rest," stressed Wol.

He added, “You have to cooperate with one another, you are the commanders, starting from the army, the police, the prisons, and the national security. Our work is one, each unit has its mission.”

(ST)

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