Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: S. Sudan suspends training of unified forces

Soldiers at risk of catching virus, says army spokesman

Benjamin Takpiny   | 27.03.2020
COVID-19: S. Sudan suspends training of unified forces

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan on Friday suspended the trainings of its unified forces due to coronavirus.

Thousands of troops from the government and opposition groups were undergoing trainings at a number of camps in South Sudan.

Gathering government and opposition groups under the umbrella of a unified army for the country is a cornerstone of the 2018 peace deal.

Trainings have been put on hold as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic, South Sudan Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said.

“We had to do that because of coronavirus, to prevent our forces from catching the virus,” he said.

The decision affects 29,000 forces selected from the government army and rebel groups including those of President Salva Kiir’s current First Vice President Riek Machar.

The security arrangement is part of a power-sharing deal the two are implementing, aimed at ending six years of crisis which left 400,000 people dead and created economic chaos in the country.

South Sudan has not registered any case of coronavirus. However, the country is stepping up its efforts to prevent the new coronavirus pandemic.

The country last week suspended schools and closed all airports and land crossings.

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