The SSPDF, under the auspices of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU), on Friday passed out 13,628 Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) who underwent training at three centers in the Bahr el Ghazal region.
The troops were trained in Masna Biira in Wau town, Mapel Military Training Center, and Pantit in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.
Speaking during the passing out parade, the SSSPF Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Santino Deng Wol, said the newly graduated troops will be used to check insecurity in the country.
“As you are now going for your deployments, we need the security of South Sudan to be stable so that the citizens in the greater Bahr el Ghazal states, Greater Equatoria, and Greater Upper Nile who are still in protection camps can return to their respective homes in peace,” he said. “The work of soldiers is to provide peace and protection to the nation. You should not only be a soldier of Bahr el Ghazal. As said by one of the artists, you should not be a soldier of Nuer, Dinka, Azande, Bari, or Muru, you are a soldier of South Sudan who protects the citizens and the constitution of South Sudan.”
Gen. Wol urged the graduating soldiers to distance themselves from politics and tribalism.
“You have to be out of politics because there is a difference between a soldier and a politician and you cannot serve two masters at ago,” he cautioned. “You should not be a tribal force because that was what brought the problems in South Sudan. From today onwards, if you are a soldier for South Sudan, please remove from your mind the concept of the tribe or where you come from.”
On her part, the National Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Angelina Teny, said the graduation of the unified forces marks a step towards the democratic roadmap to the 2024 general elections.
“You know that we have made a roadmap based on the peace agreement and it drives us to democracy and you have a great duty to play,” she said. “You will create a conducive environment so that we go for free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, the presidential advisor on security affairs, Tut Gatluak, congratulated the troops on their successful training and graduation.
“We want soldiers like these who are well trained and disciplined and who will defend South Sudan, police who will maintain law and order in South Sudan, prison servicemen who protect inmates and wildlife that will protect the national parks,” Gatluak said. “You are going to defend the constitution and the citizens of South Sudan and we will be together with you in any location that you will be deployed in.”
The president’s security advisor also ordered the Joint Transitional Security Committee (JTSC) to prepare for the training of the second batch of unified forces within one week.