South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Thursday presided over the opening of the 8th Command Council conference of the South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) in the country’s capital, Juba.
The meeting, the office of the president said in a statement, deliberated on a number of strategic objectives, including reviewing the progress in the implementation of the security arrangements as well as recommending the SSPDF transition into a professional and conventional defense institution.
The Council also discussed the operationalisation and progress in the SPLA/SSPDF legal framework, evaluating the SSPDF implementation of the resolutions and recommendations of its previous council conferences.
In his keynote address, Kiir instructed the military leadership to streamline deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) from the training centres.
“The parties to the agreement signed the roadmap 2022 in September this year. This document was negotiated by the parties themselves without external direction. That alone was itself an achievement. Along with this political process, we expect the military leadership to complement it by working on, streamlining deployment of the necessary unified forces, commencing phase II of the training of the remaining unified forces and building on the success already made in the process of the unification,” he said.
The South Sudanese leader called on the organised forces to defend the country from internal and external aggression, further stressing that the East African country is being derailed by inter and intra communal violence.
“While your key mandate is the defence of South Sudan’s territory, its people and their properties, we are today faced by security threats of different forms. We have inter and intra communal violence, cattle rustling, road ambushes and urban violence. All these pose serious security threats to our people,” stressed Kiir.
He added, “And they require you in military leadership to be on state of operational readiness to assist other organized forces tackled this when called upon”.
The president acknowledged the administrative challenges and health issues facing the national army, pledging to support soldiers who are facing health and medical conditions.
The SSPDF, formerly the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), is the army of the Republic of South Sudan. The SPLA was founded as a guerilla movement against the government of Sudan in 1983 and was a key participant of the second Sudanese civil war led by John Garang.
As of 2010, the SPLA was reportedly divided into divisions of 10,000–14,000 soldiers.