by Bith Jonathan
(Upper Nile Times) Juba – The first contingent of IGAD troops agreed at peace talks by IGAD countries in the recent summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have officially arrived in South Sudan. The troops whose mandate is to protect civilians as part of UNMISS forces and to protect ceasefire verification committees currently in the country came in less number than expected.
The troops numbering about 200 mostly comes from Ethiopia and Rwanda with a thousand or so expected to follow by next week.
At the opening of the peace talks this morning in Addis Ababa, lead negotiator Gen Seyum Mesfin appreciated the effort made so far in quickly deploying the contingents.
” I’m Happy to announce that the 1st batch of military personnel of the IGAD Protection Force has been deployed yesterday in South Sudan. This will not only help protect the civilians, it will also help us to determine who have been violating the ceasefire signed here recently by the both parties” – Mesfin said.
The rebels initially refused the clause that allowed the IGAD forces to protect government installations and oil fields. But the group have since minimised the impact of the forces and the amount of area it will control.
The IGAD forces if deployed all are expected to number around 2000. Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda promised to contribute troops to the operation. Uganda being a party to the conflict however opted out of the initiative.
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