South Sudan allocates $40M to help integrate army

FILE PHOTO: President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit (front L) attends a meeting with Riek Machar (front R), AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ismail Chergui (rear L), Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta (rear C) and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn (rear R) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 01, 2015./ Getty Images

South Sudan’s government has allocated $40 million to facilitate the integration of its soldiers with armed opposition fighters to create a unified national force.

The funds allocation is the latest development in the country’s quest to achieve lasting peace, with a deadline for the formation of a unity transitional government set for February 2020.

South Sudan plunged into chaos in December 2013 sparked by a feud between President Kiir and Machar.

President Kiir accused Machar, his then deputy, of plotting a coup against his rule. Machar denied the allegations but then went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, making South Sudan the biggest refugee crisis in Africa.

The international community has been pressing for the formation of a unity government as a way of finally finding lasting peace in South Sudan.

Earlier this week, the U.S. threatened visa restrictions against South Sudan nationals deemed to be an impediment to the peace process.

The latest deadlock in the peace talks is reported to stem from the number of states the country should have, but mediating teams are confident this will be overcome in time.

Under the auspices of regional bloc IGAD, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya played key roles in mediation of the revitalized peace agreement.

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