Sudan People’s Liberation Army, (SPLA), has said that South Sudan will be ‘free of illegal arms’ by mid 2010. SPLA Spokesperson, Kuol Dim Kuol said that there is a need to get rid of illegal arms so as to gurantee security in all parts of southern Sudan.
Kuol Dim Kuol made the statement during a five-day workshop in southern Sudan capital of Juba, which started on Saturday. The workshop is being held to discuss army modernization plans among other issues.
Said Kuol,”The army has set-up a plan to carry out an operation meant to remove all illegal guns from civilians. We want to see to it that by mid next year, all the illegal guns would have been removed from civilians. Only the police and army personnel are supposed to be with guns.”
He said that the operation, which is to be carried out in all the 10 states of southern Sudan, has been prompted by the rampant misuse of guns in the hands of civilians, which has often led to insecurity in some parts of the country.
Kuol further emphasized the importance of cooperating with neighboring countries to make the disarmament exercise a success in the region.
There are thousands of guns in the hands of southern Sudanese civilians. The guns fell into civilians hands during the over twenty-year civil war between Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Khartoum government.
The war ended in 2005 when the two parties signed a comprehensive peace agreement and southern sudan was granted a semi autonomous status.
After the war, many of the fighters went back to their villages with their guns.
Security in the region has often been compromised as some of the civilians have been using those guns to rob and kill unarmed people.