South Sudan factions miss deadline to assemble fighters: peace monitor

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-02 23:46:33|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JUBA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Signatories to South Sudan's fragile peace have missed a deadline set by the regional east African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to register and assemble all their fighters, a body tasked to monitor the pact said Wednesday.

Desta Abiche Ageno, chairperson of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), said that the parties to the agreement have missed IGAD's Sept. 30 deadline to have half of the 83,000 unified force screened.

"While the number of forces being registered is encouraging, the cantonment process remains slow and the IGAD council of ministers' deadline that at least 50 percent of 83,000 necessary Unified Forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed by Sept.30 has now passed," Ageno said.

The September 2018 peace agreement demands signatories to form a unified force of 83,000 personnel before the formation of a new unity government set for Nov. 12.

But the process has been marred by delays as the several factions who signed the pact have complained of lack of resources to screen their fighters.

"Cantonment is an important step in enabling the security arrangements to be in place before the transitional period commences," Ageno said.

"CTSAMVM urges the VIP protection force to be formed as a matter of urgency and the formation and training of the necessary Unified Forces to begin as soon as possible," he added.

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

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016.

Under the 2018 peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar with four others will once again be reinstated as Kiir's deputy.