SPLA commanders learn UNMISS role

4 Nov 2013

SPLA commanders learn UNMISS role

4 November 2014 - Sixty senior officers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) visited UNMISS headquarters in Juba today to learn about the mission’s role.

The officers, who were all commanders of army divisions from all 10 states of South Sudan, were briefed by Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Raisedon Zenenga during a forum which was attended by UNMISS Force Commander Johnson Delali Sakyi and other heads of UNMISS sections.

“We are privileged to have SPLA leadership hearing directly from us on key elements of our mandate and the challenges faced in implementing it,” said Mr. Zenenga.

He explained that protecting civilians was not only a physical role, but included early warning to deter attacks, dynamic air patrols and advocacy with community leaders.

SPLA officers raised concerns about the difficulty both the army and mission faced in protecting civilians in hard-to-reach areas, with no proper roads and limited aircraft resources.

Mr. Zenenga said UNMISS had several engineering contingents in all regions of the country who were assisting to build key roads, despite limited resources.

“The challenge is that our teams can only help in developing infrastructure in areas which are not insecure,” he said. “We need to work together with the government to improve security in other areas so that the engineering companies can do some work in those areas also.”

Closing the discussion, the DSRSG in charge of humanitarian and development affairs, Toby Lanzer, said UNMISS’ role in peace building was aimed at creating an environment that would enable development to take place.

“We want to reach out to all leadership in all states to help build South Sudan to become a nation able to protect its own people, as well as to create an environment that permits development,” he said.