Opening Statement By Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno
Chairman At The 15th CTSAMVM Technical Committee Meeting Palm Africa Hotel,
Juba October 2, 2019
CTC Members, Dear Colleagues, Representatives from our Partners and Board Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I warmly welcome you all to the 15th meeting of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee.
I would like to begin by welcoming CTSAMVM’s new Deputy Chairperson, Major General Dafaalla Hamid Mohamed. Deputy Chairperson Dafaalla replaces our old friend and
colleague Major General Tariq who departs the mission after more than 3 years of distinguished service.
We warmly welcome Deputy Chairperson Dafaalla and thank General Tariq for his commitment to CTSAMVM and to peace in South Sudan. We wish him all the best for the future. We welcome Major General Bona Panek Biar, our newest CTC member and thank you for joining us on our journey.
As is always the case, a great deal has happened since we last met. The CTSAMVM Board met on 10 September and RJMEC on 12 September. The CTC conducted two Joint Field Visits: the first to the SSPDF cantonment barracks in Malakal on 19 September and the second to Ngo Alimah on 1 October.
The third Joint Field Visit – to Pantiit on 26 September – was postponed due to bad weather and will be rescheduled at a later date. CTSAMVM hosted representatives from R-JMEC on a visit to the cantonment site at Ding Ding on 20 September, and, on 23 September, delivered an SGBV presentation to more than 500 trainers of trainers for the Necessary Unified Forces at Mapel Training Centre. CTSAMVM appreciates this training,
and looks forward to further training of trainers scheduled to take place in Malakal and Rajaf. And, of course, the meeting here in Juba between His Excellency President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar on 11 September made important progress on the path to the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity on 12 November.
Again, I can report that the ceasefire continues to hold with no reported incidents of clashes between the Parties to the Revitalized Agreement. There have been a number of incidents since we last met involving Non-Signatories to the Agreement including abductions of civilians on the road between Kerika and Mambe. They are being investigated by CTSAMVM.
Another area of concern to CTSAMVM is the ongoing tensions in Maiwut which we are investigating and will discuss here today. As per our mandate, CTSAMVM continues to monitor the overall security situation and reports of tension in order to encourage early mediation and prevent escalation.
CTSAMVM has observed the AJMCC’s registration of forces at a number of designated cantonment sites and barracks. 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 per cent of the 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed by 30 September has now passed. Of the 35 cantonment sites identified by JDB, 1 site is not occupied, 10 cantonment barracks are occupied by SSPDF, and 24 by opposition forces. With the exception of Division 1 in Renk, CTSAMVM has received no notification and seen no evidence of SSPDF plans to move forces to cantonment barracks.
Cantonment is an important step in enabling the security arrangements to be in place before the Transitional Period commences. CTSAMVM has seen no evidence of a VIP
Protection Force or the formation or training of the Necessary Unified Forces. 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.
CTSAMVM observes that severe logistical constraints continue to affect the implementation of cantonment and many commanders continue to report to our MVTs that they lack food, shelter, water and medicines. The relevant bodies – JDB, JMCC, JTSC – must start prioritizing resources to address these challenges if the cantonment process is to be completed and enable the next phase of the peace process to begin.
On the occupation of civilian buildings, I regret to inform you that four more buildings have been occupied since we last met. The Lora Primary School, Ronyi Primary School, Jambu
Primary School and Wuktebi Primary School – all near Yei – are now occupied by government forces. Only two buildings have been vacated – by the SSPDF in Nimule and in Moli Tokuro, both reported by our MVT in Torit. This brings the total number of occupied civilian buildings to 39. 35 of these buildings – mainly schools and health centres – are
occupied by government forces and 4 by the SPLM/A-IO. The failure to vacate these buildings demonstrates a lack of commitment to the peace process. CTSAMVM advises the parties to consider the occupation of each building as a violation, representing a total of 39 violations in all.
Once again, I remind you all that CTSAMVM is independent, impartial and neutral. I thank our donors for their important contributions that ensure we continue with our critical work.
Logistical challenges have prevented some of our CTC colleagues from joining our meeting here today. If this is not solved, CTSAMVM will face serious challenges to continue these meetings – both the CTC and the Board – as planned.
November 12 is an important date for everyone in South Sudan and the many South Sudanese living beyond these borders. Our work in this meeting plays an important part in moving the peace process forward. Let us continue to work constructively together.