UNMISS peacekeepers in Leer save lives and property as burglars and cattle raiders are dispersed
Nimble and robust action taken by Ghanaian peacekeepers based in Leer in Unity State earlier this week has most likely saved both lives and property, as they dispersed a group of armed men breaking into an international non-governmental organization operating in the area.
“The swift reaction of my troops to ensure the safety of the humanitarian workers attest to their vigilance and operational readiness,” comments Major Eric Ebonyi, who led the operation, adding that patrols will be intensified to ward off any future attacks.
It was in the middle of the night that the duty patrol team of the Ghanaian troops serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan spotted what is believed to have been six armed intruders at the main gate of the international non-governmental organization Unidor, the Universal Intervention and Development Organization. The peacekeepers fired warning shots to scare them away, but fire was returned.
Sufficiently deterred by the warning shots they were, however, as they eventually went into hiding, abandoning their apparent plan to raid the compound of the international organization. The peacekeepers then called the South Sudanese police, who upon arrival also exchanged fire with the armed men, who were still hunkering down in the pitch-black surroundings.
Reinforcements to deal with the persistent presence of the men of a criminal inclination were deemed necessary, and sixteen national police officers soon jumped aboard a tank to join the Ghanaian troops in pursuing the weaponized visitors. After lots of firing of heavy weapons, the gunmen finally gave up and sprinted into the darkness.
Five policemen pursued the fleeing men on foot, and soon came across yet another group of armed men, with twelve cows in tow. Fire was soon exchanged between law enforcement agents and cattle raiders, reinforcements in the shape of 20 police officers and Ghanaian soldiers in a tank arrived, and the second conglomeration of men with guns fled the scene, leaving the bewildered bovines behind.
No casualties were recorded in the two incidents, with five stolen mobile phones being the only known losses.
The local police, the protected humanitarians and Hiroko Hirahara, head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Bentiu, were all proud of and grateful for the swift action of the West African peacekeepers.
“Our timely intervention goes to show that we are well placed and poised to take all necessary actions, within the Rules of Engagement, to protect civilian lives and property in our area of responsibility,” says Lieutenant Colonel RK Sagoe, Commanding Officer of the Ghanaian battalion.