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South Sudan: U.N to repatriate some peacekeeping troops

South Sudan

A top UN peacekeeping official has said that some troops will be repatriated from South Sudan, after findings that confusion over command, control and rules of engagement marred a response by the peacekeepers to deadly violence in a compound sheltering thousands of civilians.

“I will not name names at this point. But certainly there will be repatriation,” said United Nations peacekeeping chief, Herve Ladsous.

Ladsous also said he had already spoken with the U.N. ambassadors of the relevant troop contributing countries.

“There is much to do. Clearly we have to do a better job, still better job, because we do invest a lot in training the people. And of course, it’s a process because you know people we had trained last year, well, since then they have rotated. So we have to make sure that the new incoming people, and that’s one of the recommendations, get training spot on as soon as they arrive in mission,” he said.

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres accused the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as UNMISS, of taking up to 16 hours to act, following the attack on the Malakal Protection of Civilians Site on 17-18 February.

At least 30 civilians were killed and 123 people wounded in the two-day incident at the site that shelters some 50,000 civilians.

A U.N. special investigation into the circumstances leading to the violence found that the immediate trigger for the fighting – which pitted Shilluk and Nuer people against Dinka and Darfuri people – was an attempt by two South Sudanese soldiers to smuggle ammunition into the U.N. compound.

South Sudan spiraled into civil war at the end of 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar.

Thousands have been killed and millions driven from their homes during the conflict that began barely two years after the oil-rich state’s independence from Sudan.

Machar and Kiir signed an agreement in August to end the two-year conflict but U.N. peacekeepers are still sheltering 170,000 civilians at six sites, including Malakal.

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