Another 179 SPLA-IO soldiers arrive in Juba over weekend

179 troops belonging to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition returned to South Sudan’s capital Juba over the weekend, a senior rebel official said.

Col. William Gatjiath Deng, the SPLA-IO military spokesman, told Radio Tamazuj that a new batch of 89 soldiers arrived in Juba on Saturday and that another group of 90 troops returned to Juba on Sunday.

Over 500 members of the armed opposition forces out of the expected 1, 370 have already arrived in Juba, according the military spokesperson.

Gatjiath expressed his satisfaction with the ongoing progress in the peace agreement signed by the government and armed opposition in August last year.

South Sudan recently informed the UN Security Council about its readiness for the return of the first vice President designate Riek Machar to Juba.

South Sudan’s Deputy Ambassador Joseph Moum Malok told the UN Security Council that “by the end of this week, if everything remains as planned… the entire 1,370 agreed forces will be in Juba paving the way for Dr Riek Machar to eventually come to Juba.”

The soldiers will form part of the joint integrated unit to manage security in Juba ahead of the arrival of  first vice president designate Riek Machar.

Machar’s arrival in Juba is a key step for the formation of a unity government that was agreed under a peace accord to end civil war which killed tens of thousands of people over nearly two and a half years