South Sudan: Graduation of Unified Forces Called Off in Torit

The graduation of the Unified Forces in Torit in Eastern Equatoria state has been called off as many soldiers have not arrived at the venue due to logistical challenges, military officials said.

Last week, the chief inspector at the Owinykibul Training Center, Brigadier General John Tor Biliu, told Radio Tamazuj that over 2500 forces were ready to be passed out but the military leadership in Juba moved the graduation to Torit town.

However, Colonel Dominic Odemi Maring, the administrator of the areas’ Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC) said poor roads have hindered the movement of troops to Owinykibul and that Torit has been chosen because it is easily accessible.

“The graduation is likely to be on 10 September in Torit. Some of the soldiers we are waiting for are in Ikotos and Kapoeta. All the trainers have been brought only that there was a force coming from Owinykibul which got stuck in Abara,” he said.

Col. Odemi said only army personnel will be passed out in Torit and the other organized forces will be graduated in Juba.

“The forces that will be graduated in Torit will only be the military personnel who were receiving training in Owinykibul National military Unified Training Center,” he revealed. “The wildlife, police, and all other organized forces and national security personnel will be graduated in Juba and they will be deployed to the state.”

The Eastern Equatoria state information minister, Patrick Oting Cyprian, confirmed the delay of the graduation of the forces due to logistical challenges but said the Torit Freedom Square had been spruced up for the event.  

“It is being postponed and the reason is that our forces who are going to be graduated are moving from different counties to the state headquarters,” he said. “Everything is in place and the uniforms and food were brought and most of the things have been done and even the playground and army barracks have been cleaned.”

Minister Oting said the graduation will happen at the Torit Freedom Square and not at the military barracks.

“According to our meeting which was chaired by Governor Louis Lobong yesterday (Tuesday), the forces are not yet actually organized for the graduation and they need to have some rehearsals when they get here,” he said.

Chol Mawel