South Sudan: Kiir orders integration of opposition forces

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South Sudan President Salva Klir
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir


Juba, Aug. 13, 2016 (Xinhua/NAN) South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has ordered integration of troops belonging to the former rebel force SPLA-IO into the government army.
Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei said on Sunday in Juba that President Kiir ordered establishment of cantonment sites for the opposition troops in Equatoria, Bar-el-Ghazel and Upper Nile regions.
He said that the integration was in line with the August 2015 peace agreement aimed at ending South Sudan’s civil war.
Makuei however said opposition forces rallying behind ousted Vice President Riek Machar would not be part of the arrangement.
“Anybody who defected with Machar is no longer an SPLA-IO member and has to find a new name.
“And anybody who will not report to the cantonment site will be deemed as a rebel,” he said.
Unrest in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands and displaced nearly three million people.
Renewed fighting erupted in Juba in early July between government troops led by Kiir and opposition troops loyal to Machar.
Kiir sacked Machar later that month.
It remains unclear whether Machar and his followers would heed the president’s order after Machar’s disappearance from Juba last month following the deadly fighting.
Machar was replaced by his former chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai, after he failed to listen to a 48-hour ultimatum calling for him to return Juba.
Machar said he would only return to Juba after a regional protection force proposed by the African Union is deployed to the capital city to buffer the rival army factions.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-Moon, UN Security Council is expected to meet on Friday to vote on a resolution granting regional protection force to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
The resolution would also enhance their strength to protect UN personnel and civilians. (Xinhua/NAN)

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