8 April 2011 – With Southern Sudan heading for independence in July, the last Sudan Armed Forces Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) members left Juba by barge today for the north.
The JIU soldiers had assembled in the southern capital from various locations in Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria states.
High-ranking officials from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the Sudan Armed Forces and UNMIS attended the farewell event for the First Division of SAF convened at Juba River Port.
JIU Head of Operations Col. Mohamed Murtada noted that the departure of the First Division from Juba marked the last SAF troops departing the south for the north. He added that JIU SPLA units from Khartoum have also left for the south.
SAF Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Defense Committee Esmat Abdurahman Zein-Al-Abdeen congratulated the JIUs for their immense contribution towards implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which they had been tasked to monitor.
He also said the northern and southern armies would continue cooperation regardless of the south's independence. "We are a complement to one another and also ready to support one another."
Vice-Chairman of the Joint Defense Committee and SPLA Commanding Officer Hoth commended the officers and gallant forces of both the SAF and SPLA for their patience and strength in performing responsibilities vested on them throughout the past six years.
UNMIS Force Commander Maj. Gen. Moses Bisong Obi said the occasion was special, with higher officials gathering to recognize the services of the armed forces over the past six years to insure respect for the peace agreement.
"We witness the leadership of both SAF and SPLA walking together as one family and this spirit of friendship and brotherhood should be abided by the rest of the society," said Maj. Gen. Obi.