In Rumbek, UNMISS Force Commander discusses security, infrastructure with peacekeepers, state authorities
LAKES – It’s been a busy November for Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
From briefing the 27th annual conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres in Kenya, where he spoke about the vital work done by UN Peacekeeping missions and the importance of protecting civilians caught in complex conflict situations to flying to Lakes state’s capital, Rumbek to get a firsthand update on the security situation on the ground, the top military man at UNMISS is rarely still.
“My primary objective in constantly visiting our deep field locations is simple: you can’t direct Blue Helmets in the world’s largest peacekeeping mission to protect civilians without having an in-depth knowledge of their respective areas of operation,” revealed Force Commander Subramanian.
Upon his arrival, the Force Commander inspected an Honour Guard by peacekeepers from Nepal deployed in Rumbek, following which he went to meet state Governor, General Rin Tueny Mabor.
“Peacekeeping is all about partnerships and we work with the Government and the people of South Sudan to ensure that civilians are safe and receive necessary support. It’s been a fruitful meeting with Governor Mabor where we discussed security aspects as well as the vital work done by UNMISS engineers in infrastructure rehabilitation across Lakes, especially road repairs,” stated Lieutenant-General Subramanian.
In a country where the long rainy season renders most roads impassable, such repairs are vital to ensure humanitarian aid can reach the most vulnerable, communities can trade as well as access medical facilities and, critically, peacekeepers can deploy swiftly to protect those who are caught in conflict or prevent such violence in the first place.
“The work done by uniformed engineers across South Sudan is now more critical than ever, as the country approaches its first post-independence elections,” said the Force Commander.
“A high priority project is the main supply route connecting Lakes state to neighbouring state capitals, Wau and Bentiu. Once finished, not only will this road be a lifeline for communities, but will also enable prompt and expanded security deployment, even during the rainy season,” he averred, adding that the UN Peacekeeping mission would be widening its footprint to 11 additional locations to provide more comprehensive protection in conflict prone areas.
For his part, Governor Mabor, requested assistance in rehabilitating certain key roads in Maper, while welcoming the deployment of UNMISS troops here.
“The rehabilitation of Maper's roads and infrastructure is essential and with the invaluable support of UNMISS, we look forward to giving momentum to this goal. This collaboration reflects our shared dedication to fostering a secure and prosperous environment for local communities,” stated the Governor.
Before the day came to a close, Force Commander Subramanian also met with military observers serving for peace in Lakes.