Chinese engineers launch rehabilitation efforts of roads in Bahr El Ghazal
Chinese military engineers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have begun rehabilitation of major travel and supply routes in Bahr el Ghazal to help bolster economic growth and rapprochement in the conflict-affected country.
“When South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, its inherited infrastructure was in a dire state. Over the years, war and extreme weather have taken a great toll on the roads. Now that the rainy season is dying down, Chinese engineers have been able to start repairs,” said head of the peacekeeping mission’s Wau Field Office, Sam Muhumure.
Engineers from the Chinese battalion in Wau are now working intensively, leveling, grading, and refortifying key road segments running through Wau, Kwajok, Tonj, Bentiu, Rumbek, and Ajakwach, with further segments planned for repair between Wau and Aweil, time allowing.
“This is a sign of peace,” said frequent taxi passenger Majok Majok Deng with a smile, as he pointed to a freshly repaired section along the Wau-Kwajok road.
The majority of the main supply routes in the region, and in South Sudan at large, are in constant need of repair or maintenance. Poor road conditions cause more than just an uncomfortable commute—more importantly, they impede freedom of movement, delivery of crucial humanitarian assistance, and trade.
“Improved access routes will make a big difference in people’s lives. It will encourage economic growth, as well as facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. This in turn will promote reconciliation and peace-building activities,” Muhumure added.
The peacekeeping mission recognizes the pivotal role of a reliable network of roads in overcoming the challenges facing the nascent nation and has spearheaded the rehabilitation of hundreds of kilometers of roads throughout the country, thanks to the expertise of engineers from all over the world.
During the inauguration of the current project, local officials took the opportunity to recognize these efforts and pledged to do their part in ensuring safe and secure working conditions for the hardworking peacekeepers.
“I appreciate greatly the role of the peacekeeping mission and its engineers in the country. Our government will continue to do what we can to protect them and their machinery,” said Arikanjelo Anyar Anyar, local minister of government and law enforcement.