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JUBA - 24 Mar 2014

Hundreds of SPLA recruits head from Juba to training camps

The South Sudanese army (SPLA) has sent hundreds of new recruits from the capital Juba toward training camps in Eastern Equatoria, according to eyewitnesses.

Recruitment for the national army was one of the major tasks given to the Crisis Management Committee appointed on 9 January just two weeks ahead of the ceasefire agreement signed in Addis Ababa.

The committee headed by Vice President James Wani Igga has been visiting state capitals and also the county seat of Kajo Keji, encouraging communities to send their young men to fight.

Three trucks with trailers loaded with men were seen moving through Juba streets this evening. The vehicles, which were coming from New Site, were cheered by some of the locals at Custom market.

The men in the trucks were not wearing uniforms, said one witness, who noticed the big trucks were packed with men, suggesting their number was in the hundreds.

A separate group of another tree trucks were seen earlier in the day at about 4:00 p.m. driving on the Nimule road. According to another eyewitness, the recruits were heading toward Awecdial, an SPLA training camp in Magwi County.

File photo: SPLA soldiers drive in a truck in Juba, 21 December 2013 (Reuters)