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The long awaited communiqué of the Friday regional Heads of State Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on the situation in South Sudan has finally been released.
The summit that was actively attended by representatives from the United Nations, the African Union and other continental powers including economic giants South Africa and Nigeria, came out with 20 resolutions and majorly detailed the strong mandate of the regional force that was resolved to be urgently deployed in South Sudan.
ChimpReports understands the Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Rwanda have already started discussions on the contribution of troops, the numerical strength, weapons, and style of operation among others.
The army Chiefs of Staff of the above five countries that were named in the recent 27th African Union Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda to deploy troops in the fragile young nation, have already been instructed to convene and draw the plan for the mission.
The Communiqué seen by this website mentioned 7 tough mandates that if maintained, the Transitional Government of National Unity is going to remain with limited powers far as management of security in South Sudan is concerned.
The decrees given to the third force include disarming of forces of President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar whenever they are seen as threats to the civilian population.
“The deployment of the Force from the region with distinct responsibilities including disarming of any actors targeting civilians, peacekeepers and their premises/assets, humanitarian actors and any such groups that threaten peace,” part of the resolution 9 of the Communiqué said.
It should be noted that there are only two commanding forces in South Sudan- the mainstream SPLA under Kiir known as SPLA in Government and the forces of Dr. Machar known as SPLA in Opposition.
The two militia groups- Mathiang Anyoor in Bar-el-Ghazel and the White Army in Jonglei state are commanded by the government and the opposition leadership respectively.
The responsibility of protecting critical installations is also going to be removed from the South Sudan unity government and be placed under the regional force.
“The Force shall protect key installations, securing and protection of Juba International Airport.” Close (d) of article 9 says.
The regional force is going to be integrated to the UNMISS force whose mandate is also going to be automatically expanded.
The IGAD force will also take charge of the protection of civilians in the internally displaced camps.
According to the UN high commission for refugees report this week, civilians inside the world body’s protection sites were massively targeted by the combatants.
“The Force shall determine the level of security details and weapons to be assigned to key personalities and government dignitaries including military commanders.”
Other responsibilities of the regional force will be to control the cantonment of Kiir and Machar’s forces outside capital Juba.
The two rival forces as per the peace treaty signed last year, are supposed to converge at designated cantonment zones for integration process.
Meanwhile there is also going to be the creation of UNMISS civil police to handle nonmilitary operations in Juba.
The appeal has already been made to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council to bless the new tough mandates.
Last month Ban Ki-moon asked for the immediate deployment of assault weapons including attack helicopters in South Sudan to contain the government and opposition forces.
On 10th July a heavy shell from ground weapon hit an armored vehicle of the UN peace keeping force killing two soldiers and injuring four others.