South Sudan’s main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) on Friday denied it was carrying out fresh recruitment to beef up its military strength.
Mr Lam Gabriel, spokesman of SPLA-IO, said that the process of moving their troops to cantonment sites had been misconstrued for recruitment.
“The leadership of the SPLA-IO is busy directing its forces to vacate civilian centres and residences and move to cantonment sites to be registered, screened and sent for training.
“This is what has been misunderstood as recruitment,” Gabriel told journalists in Juba.
Gabriel said their senior commanders were involved in implementation and dissemination of provisions of the peace agreement signed in September 2018, in Ethiopia
This came after South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir accused SPLA-IO leader Riek Machar, of carrying out fresh recruitment in the wake of the parties having agreed to extend the pre-transitional period for another six months.
“He (Machar) is now recruiting and this recruitment is prohibited in the (peace) agreement; and if it is a matter of recruitment, it does not cost me much to also recruit,” said Kiir on Wednesday.