The South Sudanese army chief of staff, General Gabriel Jok Riak, was quoted as saying that besides the protection of civilians, the IGAD troops will be tasked with the protection of the opposition leaders during the 30-month transitional period.
In line with the outcome of the IGAD Summit of 12 September 2018 Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda will deploy troops within the framework of the 4,000-troop Regional Protection Force (RPF) that the Security Council decided to deploy in South Sudan in support of the 13,000 United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) force.
The regional bloc’s announcement came following a meeting convened in Khartoum where IGAD chiefs of staff discussed the deployment of the forces in South Sudan, and decided to assess the needs on the ground before to take further steps.
A statement released on Tuesday said the participants discussed the expansion of the regional force and assessed the status and duties of RPF in light of the situation in South Sudan.
The meeting was attended by the chiefs of staff of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, in addition to the Rwandan army chief of staff, as his country is chairing the current session of the African Union.
The meeting decided to form “a joint working group headed by Sudan, composed of representatives from all the countries participating in the RPF, to assess the status of the RPF on the ground and to submit its report on 19 November 2018 to the next meeting of the chiefs of staff in Ethiopia,” further said the statement.