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South Sudan president addresses graduates of first batch of unified forces

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (2nd L, front) attends the graduation ceremony of unified forces at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Aug. 30, 2022. (Photo by Denis Elamu/Xinhua)

The first batch of South Sudan's unified forces officially graduated on Tuesday. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said during the ceremony that the implementation of the security arrangement has been one of the most challenging tasks since the signing of the peace pact in 2018.

JUBA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of South Sudan's unified forces officially graduated on Tuesday. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said during the ceremony that the implementation of the security arrangement has been one of the most challenging tasks since the signing of the peace pact in 2018.

The 21,973 graduates include 3,308 VIP protection forces, 4,366 police forces, 6,315 national security services, 1,120 prison services, 3,575 wildlife services, and 3,289 civil defense forces.

Members of South Sudan's unified forces showcase their skills during a graduation ceremony held at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Aug. 30, 2022. (Photo by Oketayot Santo Obwoya/Xinhua)

According to the 2018 revitalized peace deal, the nation is supposed to train and graduate a unified force of 83,000 personnel to take charge of security during the transitional period until 2023 when elections are held.

Kiir reiterated his commitment not to drag the country to war again. "As I have been saying, I will never take our people back to war and I must tell you that you are not being graduated to take you back to war," he said.

He warned the newly graduated forces to refrain from involvement in politics and their task is to protect the sovereignty of the country.

The ceremony was attended by Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, President of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, and representatives from the region and the international community. ■