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3,000 VIP Protection officers to graduate in phase one

South Sudan NEWS PORTAL

The SSPDF spokesperson says 3,000 soldiers will graduate this week as part of the VIP Protection Unit.

The protection unit is a crucial force that assures the safety and security of officials of the Transitional Government of National Unity who took office in February.

They are part of the 83, 000 forces needed to form a unified army, national security and police services –as agreed upon in the September 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement.

The first batch of graduation was announced late May, a five months’ delay from initial dates stipulated in the agreement.

They were supposed to be assembled, trained and unified during the pre-transitional period, before the formation of a coalition government.

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But the parties made compromises to establish a unity government that saw all opposition leaders relocate to Juba in February.

The army now says 3,000 soldiers will graduate within the next week.

But the graduation will only be for the VIP Protection Unit.

“This month of June, all the forces that are at all training centers will be graduated, as soon as we are done with the graduation of VIP Protection force,” Gen. Lul Ruai SSPDF spokesperson said.

He added the next phase of graduation will include officers of the other organized forces.

“The Chief of Defense Forces will come up with a clear timeline on when the other forces will be graduated,” he said.

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This phased graduation, said the army, will ensure the planned events are safe to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“As you know we are operating under a partial lockdown and a number of rules and guidelines are being observed including when the graduation is taking place. This includes who are the dignitaries attending the graduation and what are other things required to be put in place before graduation.”

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