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Indian peacekeepers to establish temporary base in Upper Nile

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January 24, 2021 (JUBA) - Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan have established a temporary operating base in Akoka area of Upper Nile state to protect civilians anticipated to be at risk of attacks.

UNMISS troops from India patrol the perimeters of a compound in South Sudan’s capital, Juba (AP)

“Our aim is to make sure our Blue Helmets are agile and can respond swiftly in areas where conflict has the potential to flare up,” Lieutenant-General Shailesh Tinaikar, the force commander for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was quoted saying.

“So, we started designing our operations around what in military-speak is called a ‘hub and spoke’ model,” he added.

India, among the largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions, currently has 2383 troops serving in UNMISS.

Tinaikar said instead of restricting to the more established bases in single locations, the peacekeepers developed a system by which they can be mobile in response to evolving security threats and have boots on the ground where civilians need protection the most with minimum delay.

“As peacekeepers, our job is not only to protect civilians but also to engage community members and local authorities alike so that we receive early warnings about any potential escalation of tensions,” said Tinaikar.

He added, "With this method we are able to anticipate serious security risks in advance and this, ultimately makes us better at preventing violent outbreaks in the first place”.

UNMISS, in a statement, said peacekeepers established the temporary base to mitigate conflict caused by the seasonal migration of cattle across South Sudan during the ongoing dry season and build confidence among local communities.

It further said the peacekeepers successfully engaged with community members in Akoka and carried out engineering tasks such as leveling of the local school’s football field and constructing a path connecting the school and village over swamplands, helping children avoid long detours.

(ST)

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