UNMISS supports joint police force deployment to improve safety outside Bentiu protection site
A joint police force has been deployed outside the United Nations Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu to improve security in the wake of violence against displaced people travelling outside the camp.
A new police post comprising 36 officers serving with both the South Sudan National Police Service and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition has been established at the outer perimeter fence of the camp, which provides sanctuary to approximately 111,000 displaced people.
The joint police effort includes daily foot patrols and an opportunity for displaced people and community leaders to directly refer criminal activity to the local police for investigation and prosecution. They were deployed following a request from community leaders inside the camps and with logistical support from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan as well as humanitarian partners.
Civilians living in the camp have welcomed the new police presence and say it has already had a positive impact.
“With the deployment of the police force, our security has improved a great deal around the camp,” said Teresa Nyachanga Ruot, a resident of the protection site. “The crime rate has been reduced a lot, and there are no criminals attacking us now when we go outside of the base. We feel safe.”
The new police presence has been particularly reassuring to women living within the camp.
“We are excited about the national police being near us because they are doing their best to deal with criminals. We are already moving more freely outside the camp and I hope they will do more in the coming days,” said Nyakuoth Gai Chuol.
Camp leaders said it was pleasing to see the government and opposition working together to take responsibility for reducing crime.
“This is very encouraging. We applaud them for that,” said Kam John, the Deputy Chairperson of the Community High Committee in the Bentiu protection site.
“After we requested this deployment of security forces around the camp because of persistent crimes, it was the UNMISS field office which coordinated it and made it happen. We thank them as well.”
UNMISS said that the police efforts outside were having a positive flow-on effect inside the camp.
“We have noticed that criminal and gang activities have reduced, not only outside, but also inside the camp, so we are already seeing the impact of this deployment,” said UNMISS Protection of Civilians site coordinator, Hosiah Mukombero.