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AT LEAST180 GOV'T SOLDIERS DEPLOYED TO ASWA BRIDGE, REASON UNKNOWN

Nimule, 27 February 2019; Just five days after soldiers from Pageri brigade of SPLA-IO have moved into their cantonment site, located at least two kilometers away from the Aswa bridge, in Loa Payam, Pageri County, Torit State in compliance with the implementation of the security arrangements of the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflicts in South Sudan, reliable information from several eyewitnesses said the SSPDF has Tuesday night [26.02.2019] moved over 180 heavily well-armed soldiers to Aswa, along Nimule-Juba road.  

According to the information, the motive of the deployment of at least 180 heavily armed soldiers with heavy machine guns and other sorts of weaponry remained unknown. 

However, South Sudan Liberty has learned that the new deployment of fresh troop in such a number is meant to kept and maintain their current position of SSPDF at Aswa bridge, instead of withdrawing them, this, however, goes against the spirit of the security arrangements which requires all soldiers to move to their cantonment site. 

A senior officer at SPLA-IO who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity acknowledge the ongoing deployment of SSPDF in the area and said such a posture presents a security risk for them and so they are assessing the level the risk, they are consequently adjusting their tactical measures to respond to the risk proportionately and decisively. 

The officer, however, said he hopes that CTSAM, R-JMEC, IGAD and the other actors involved in guaranteeing the implementation of the peace process should take serious action to address such provocative actions from SSPDF to avoid eventual physical confrontations with their peace partners. 

According to an agreement made in Juba and signed by all the parties involved in the Revitalized Peace agreement, all government soldiers are to vacant their illegal barracks established in civilian residence across Pageri County, the agreement clearly stated that government forces should withdraw back to their recognized barrack in Nimule, meanwhile opposition forces should be cantoned at Aswa River, Loa Payam, Pageri County Torit State. 

Thus, this silent move by Juba if not check and immediately being contained will escalate to a dangerous confrontation between the two forces which will backslash. 

Andrew Olweny 

SSLN 

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