Death, hunger and diseases: Military trainees flee centres

Death, hunger and diseases: Military trainees flee centres
Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Angelina Teny addresses a gathering during the recent assessment of Rajaf Training Centre. [Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

Feeling abandoned and forgotten, trained necessary unified forces are vacating their respective training centres amid stinging hunger and death stemming from treatable diseases.

In Rajaf, the biggest training centre initially hosting 8,137 unified forces awaiting graduation has seen a drastic reduction in the number of trainees as more and more forces flee the camp over a dire state of living.

A senior officer told City Review that only a half of the initial figure has remained at the camp with a plunging hope of being graduated.

According to Col James Khor the Deputy Instructor, trainees are leaving the camp due to the poor conditions, he said most of the forces go out in search of food.


Necessary Unified Forces trainees at Panyier Training Centre in Jonglei. [Sheila Ponnie, City Review]

Deaths

The Rajaf Unified Police Training Center, Deputy Chief Instructor Col James Khor Chuol said that most of the trainees have withstood curable diseases since last year 2020. Not anymore. Over 54 trainees perished by the time of writing this article.

“We have lost 54 trainees in Rajaf training center simply because we don’t have medicines whenever somebody gets sick even if it is a treatable disease,” he said.

Appeal to the National Transitional Committee to bail the trainees out, according to Khor, has not been heeded.

Without a better alternative, trainees shelter themselves under torn tents, braving rain and storm.

“The trainees are just sleeping outside and now the rainy season is soon this people sleeping out will get sick and that will increase sickness to them,” he bemoaned.

Col. Khor made the remarks during the visit, disclosing that the government has for months not provided them with essential services such as food and shelter.

Chuol was speaking during the visit of the African Union Peace and Security Council delegation.

He told the delegates that the training of the unified forces elapsed 10 months back in June 2020 and what was remaining was the graduation and deployment of the forces however till now this has not happened.

 “With the presences of the delegates today, we hope that maybe something will work out especially with the graduation of the forces, because I strongly believe that the security agreement is the backbone of the peace agreement without it, I don’t think this peace can move on just like that.

“But if you graduate these forces and deploy them in the country, then you can rest assured that they are going to grantee this peace,” 

Appealing to the African Union to do much especially in terms of the security agreements.

The African Unions Peace and Security Council’s Visit to South Sudan was to assess the training Center and to process the implementation of activities towards the realization of the revitalized agreement.

Speaking to the 4000 trainees who paraded during the visit of the AU delegates the minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs Angelina Teny, urged the forces to be patient.

She admitted that very little effort has been done in order to motivate the forces

“Peace is alive because of these people, because of their determination, because of what they have put up with – including some of our shortcomings as their leaders,” said Teny

The term leader, AU Peace and Security Council group Amb. Jane Njeri Kamau said that the trainees at Rajaf, that they would work with the government to address some of the challenges facing the training camps.

“We are going to look back at this arrangement and see what assistance can be offered to help with the goals of this project, which is really to help the graduands to finish their program and to be redeployed and to work very closely with the ministry of defense on some of the challenges that they are definitely facing,” Kamau said.

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