The South Sudan authorities are once again refusing the deployment of a regional protection force, alleging that the security situation in the country has improved.
In an interview with the Sudan Tribune, the presidential advisor on security affairs, Tut Gatluak, questioned whether it was still necessary to send regional protection forces.
“They were talking about security, but now security situation has improved. Juba is safe and everyone is the witness. The Christmas and New Year celebrations went well, now you can move freely because security situation has improved. The national dialogue has been launched and the agreement is being implemented,” said Gatluak.
“The cantonment sites for SPLA-IO forces have been agreed and directives have been given for them to move into these area. Everything is moving well,” he added.
Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk was equally dismissive of the proposed deployment of the regional force.
“We acknowledge that there are problems in South Sudan and it is our duty as government to resolve these challenges,” Juuk told a social gathering held in Juba.
Juuk further accused the United Nations of compiling reports from individuals in order to justify the deployment.
Juba has vacillated repeatedly on a regional force being sent to the country following regional and international pressure.
Furthermore, human rights abuses continue to be an issue despite Juba’s protests to the contrary.
In December, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that thousands of children had fought in South Sudan’s recent conflict and tens of thousands remained at risk of recruitment.
Since the outbreak of the most recent war in South Sudan, in December 2013, neither government nor opposition leaders have ended widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers despite promising to do so.