Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of Information and Communication, Technology and Postal Services, said that the first phase of the unified forces on Wednesday was deployed without firearms to Upper Nile state located north of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, due to the existing arms embargo which has made it difficult for them to procure arms.
"We are deploying them without arms because we have no arms, the UN Security Council decided to pass a resolution on the arms embargo on South Sudan, so we are unable to acquire arms for our forces," Makuei told journalists after the weekly cabinet meeting. "It is the international community that insisted and said that you must deploy these forces; we have been saying we cannot deploy them without arms."
Makuei said that the forces that were trained in the Upper Nile would be brought to Juba for integration with other forces from Bahr el-Ghazal. He called on the international community and the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo to enable them to arm the unified forces.
South Sudan’s transitional unity government graduated the first batch of 53,000 unified forces in August last year. In total 83,000 unified forces are supposed to be graduated and deployed under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement signed to end years of conflict since the outbreak in December 2013.
On May 30, 2023, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to renew for a year arms embargo measures against South Sudan as well as targeted sanctions of travel ban and asset freeze against individuals and entities. The arms embargo and sanctions were imposed in 2018 following the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.