FIRST BATCH OF REGIONAL PROTECTION FORCE ARRIVES IN SOUTH SUDAN
JUBA, April 30 (NNN-XINHUA) — The first elements of the regional protection force (RPF) of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have started to arrive in the country, the mission said Saturday.
UNMISS said an advance party of a construction engineering company from Bangladesh arrived on April 20, bringing essential equipment to start the preparation of accommodation and working areas for the RPF in Juba.
“Regional troops from Rwanda will follow in June and July,” the UN mission said, noting that the RPF headquarters have already been established in Juba under the leadership of Brigadier General Jean Mupenzi from Rwanda.
In August 2016, the UN Security Council following request by the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) approved the deployment of 4,000-strong RPF force to secure Juba in the aftermath of renewed clash there.
The additional force would beef up the existing 13,000-strong UNMISS troops in the war-torn country.
UNMISS said some other specialist capacities that are unavailable in the region will be provided by countries including Nepal and Pakistan.
“The deployment of the RPF, to be staged over coming months, will free existing UNMISS peacekeepers to extend their presence to conflict-affected areas beyond Juba,” UNMISS said.
It said the 4,000 peacekeepers of the RPF, commanded by Mupenzi, will be based in Juba to bolster the Mission’s capacity to advance the safety and security of civilians.
South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity confirmed its unconditional consent to the deployment of the force in a communique to the UN Security Council on November 30, 2016.
The RPF will provide coordinated protection to key facilities in Juba as well as to the main routes into and out of the city.
The regional force will also strengthen the security of UN protection of civilians’ sites and other UN premises.
South Sudan has been shattered by a civil war that broke out in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the accusation but then mobilised a rebel force.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 led to the formation of a transitional unity government but was again devastated by fresh violence that broke out in July 2016.
Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been killed, with millions of others displaced and 4.6 million people left severely food insecure since December 2013.–NNN-XINHUA
Source: NAM News Network