by Julius Gale
JUBA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese are concerned about heavy deployment of the army in the capital Juba, a survey conducted by a lobby group South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE) said.
SSuNDE said the security survey, conducted in March covered over 1,500 residents of Juba, found that the force deployed in the city signifies war-related danger to the population.
It said militarization of the city led to increased armed robbery, rape and reported cases of murders through gun shot.
The survey also said security reforms initiated late last year by the government to improve safety and security of civilians in Juba was largely effective and appreciated by the public.
The report called for an expanded and sustained security sector reforms, collection of illegal arms from civilians and deployment of soldiers outside urban centers.
"They (civilians) recommended that the people who interact with them, especially providing security in town should be the police and the military should get involved in defence and other assignments outside the city," said Rajab Mohandis, SSuNDE Executive Director.
Juba remains heavily militarized with soldiers seen in the several military patrols and security checkpoints across the city despite repeated calls by the UN and regional blocs for demilitarization of the city.
The August 2015 peace agreement also provided for redeployment of the military 25 km outside the city, but little has been achieved as the pact was shattered by fresh clash between rival forces in July 2016.
Responding to the findings, South Sudan's Interior Minister Michael Chiangjiek said the report would help the government improve on its shortfalls and strengthen its capacity to protect civilians and their property.
"Based on the assessment, I call it very positive because it gives us the feedback on what we can do as a government and also as security organs because they have found that there are areas that we have done very well and there are areas that need improvement," Chiangjiek told reporters on Thursday. Enditem