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JUBA - 13 Mar 2019

South Sudan parties to form VIP protection unit in Juba

South Sudan’s peace partners on Monday agreed to form a 700-strong VIP protection unit that will handle security of top government officials during the transitional period, the military said.

Army deputy spokesman Santo Domic Chol told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday that the Joint Defence Board (JDB) agreed to establish the VIP protection unit soon.

“The force will compose of personnel from three groups. 350 will be come from SSPDF and 350 from SPLA-IO and SSOA,” he said.

Domic pointed out that the security unit will be trained in the capital Juba.” The commanders of the VIP protection unit will be trained at the police academy in the area of Rambur,” he said.

He pointed out that the training of the VIP protection force will start before a new transitional government is formed.

On his part, SPLA-IO deputy spokesman Paul Lam Gabriel said the security unit will provide protection to members of the presidency during the transitional period.

“The unit will be trained soon. The formation of the VIP protection unit is part of the security arrangements,” he explained.

Lam pointed out that the VIP protection unit will be composed of forces from all peace partners.

The peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir and several opposition leaders in September 2018 will see the creation of a new unity government, with main opposition leader Riek Machar reinstated as first vice president, one of five vice presidents.

The new transitional government is expected to be formed in May 2019.