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General News of Friday, 26 February 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ghanaian peacekeepers in South Sudan applauded for averting violence

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, has lauded the effort a Ghanaian peacekeeping contingent for proactively averting violence in a village in the country's Unity region.

A UNMISS statement titled: "UNMISS helps restore calm and stability following recent violence in Koch" applauded the 50-man contingent led by Major Kofi Safo for their professionalism.

“When the looting started, most of us ran to nearby areas to shelter in the bush,” stated a community member.

“We thought that the clashes would continue, but thanks to Ghanaian peacekeepers who arrived very quickly we were able to come out of hiding and, now, many of us are beginning to resume our normal activities though we have suffered many losses.”

What Major Safo said:

50 peacekeepers from Ghana, led by Major Kofi Safo, had established a temporary operating base in Koch earlier this month.

“The minute we received reports of the ongoing violence in Jahjah, we were able to send priority patrols at very short notice,” revealed Major Safo.

“Though the perpetrators had fled by the time our peacekeepers reached the scene, we were able to successfully prevent the situation from becoming worse or causing more harm to communities living here,” he said.

UNMISS operations in recent months

Preventing conflict from breaking out or swiftly mitigating its effects on innocent civilians by establishing temporary bases in hotspots has been a focus of UNMISS operations in recent months.

“The area in and around Koch has been volatile of late with early warnings of possible conflict,” stated Lieutenant-General Shailesh Tinaikar, UNMISS Force Commander.

“Since we were proactive in deploying our peacekeepers ahead of time, it made it much easier for us to move swiftly when we heard about the situation in Jahjah.”

Since this incident, which took place on 20 February 2021, UNMISS patrols to areas in and around Jahjah village are ongoing. The mission is also evaluating the security and humanitarian needs of those who have been affected.

UN chief's rep in South Sudan hails contingent

“Making sure that communities and humanitarian partners are safe is a top priority for UNMISS,” said David Shearer, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in South Sudan.

“When I visited Bentiu a few weeks ago, I had assured the Governor of our full support to the state administration on security issues. I’m very pleased that our Ghanaian peacekeepers responded quickly and we’re keeping a close watch to make sure tensions don’t increase in Koch.”

Consolidating peacekeeping efforts

Peacekeepers at the temporary base here are consistently engaging with community leaders and members to build confidence and bolster the fragile security situation across the county.

Additionally, they have conducted free veterinary care camps in Rier, Patit, Bhang and Wicruop villages, treating numerous animals belonging to livestock owners.

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