First UN military reinforcements arrive in Juba
15 January 2014 – As civilians continue to face peril in South Sudan, the first group of 25 Nepalese military reinforcements arrived today in Juba from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
The team of one officer and 24 soldiers is an advance party of the 350-member Nepalese UN reinforcement battalion from MINUSTAH, which is expected to be in South Sudan by the end of the month. Another 500 troops coming directly from the Nepal capital Kathmandu are also expected to join the team.
“Your deployment … emphasizes the commitment of the UN to protect civilians and maintain the mission’s integrity and ability to complete mandated tasks,” said UNMISS Force Commander Johnson Delali Sakyi, while welcoming the troops. “I will therefore charge you all to carry out your mission with professionalism, dedication and commitment.”
The team’s arrival follows a Security Council decision on 24 December 2013 to increase the mission’s component by an additional 5,500 troops for a total force of 12,500 troops. The resolution supported a recommendation by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to temporarily increase UNMISS’ overall force to assist the mission in protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance.
Maj. Gen. Sakyi emphasized that protection of civilians was a priority mandated UNMISS task, and one upon the mission’s credibility was judged.
“As you deploy in your area of responsibility, read and understand all operational orders well … and let your operational actions be conducted in a manner that is consistent with military ethics and UN Rules of Engagement,” he said. “Remember to be impartial… be seen to be doing the right things always and every time.”
The Force Commander urged the peacekeeping troops to be professional “as the eyes of the world and of the whole UN System are fixed on UNMISS, of which you have become a part”.
Discussions are underway for additional troops from countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, India, Tanzania and Bangladesh to also join the UNMISS force up to the numbers recommended by the Council.
On 9 January, UN peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous said the 5,500-strong surge in UN peacekeepers and equipment for South Sudan could take up to eight weeks to be fully deployed on the ground.