UNMISS Deputy Force Commander visits Torit

14 Feb 2012

UNMISS Deputy Force Commander visits Torit

13 February 2012 - A top mission official stressed in the Eastern Equatoria State capital of Torit today that the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) must clearly understand the mandate of the new UN Mission in South Sudan.

"Our mandate in the new mission is not to monitor them (as did the previous mission – the UN Mission in Sudan) but to support them to be a better organized army," UNMISS Deputy Force Commander (DFC) Major General Asit Mistry said during a meeting with mission military officers during his one-day visit.

"So you should always explain this to them," the DFC said, adding that there would be a seminar for senior SPLA officers on the issue.

Speaking about the security situation in the state, UNMISS military officers told Maj. Gen. Mistry that cattle raiding, banditry and tribal conflicts were main sources of unrest, compounded by a prevalence of arms in civilian hands.

On challenges facing UNMISS, the officers pointed to an insufficient number of military personnel.

"We have currently 64 military personnel and three armoured personnel carriers (APCs), after we sent 45 soldiers and two APCs to Jonglei State," said UNMISS Torit Bangladeshi Commander Major Ruhul Amin.

The UNMISS officers also stated that recent lack of air support due to the situation in Jonglei, where conflict has broken out in the past few months, had limited patrols in Eastern Equatoria.

The DFC also spoke with UNMISS State Coordinator Winnie Babihuga on the operation of mission components and their cooperation with partners in the state government.

In addition, he visited Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) barracks in Torit, where he spoke with Battalion 142 Commander Lieutenant Colonel Chan Lual Garange on the need for close cooperation between UNMISS military and the SPLA.