WASHINGTON – In other news, United Nations peacekeepers cannot protect civilians in the volatile country of South Sudan. Reuters’ most recent article exposes the inadequacies facing U.N. peacekeeping missions in remote and lawless places.
In the country’s eastern state of Jonglei, violence continues to rage as U.N. peacekeepers can only look on. State security forces and rebels attack villages and towns with abandon and civilians have nowhere to turn for help.
The head of the U.N.’s South Sudan mission, Hilde Johnson of Norway, said that she’s doubled the amount of peacekeepers in one of the major towns in the eastern region, but admitted her mission’s shortcomings. She sadly told Reuters the following:
“We cannot sustain a presence with the logistical capacity that we have, with the problems we have with air transport and by road. So we cannot protect civilians in big, big, big numbers”.
The U.N. mission has 6,560 troops to cover a country the size of France with only 200 miles of paved roads. Road access has been hampered by seasonal rains, in addition to attacks by armed gunmen. The most recent attack killed 5 U.N. peacekeepers and 7 civilian staff members.