UN Police in South Sudan improving its response to “potential” future crises

The UN Police in South Sudan has taken several steps to improve its ability to respond “robustly” if fighting erupts in the country once again.

That’s what Bruce Munyambo, the Police Commissioner of the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) told members of the Security Council on Thursday.

Since 2013, there have been fears that Africa’s youngest nation might plunge back into civil war due to a fall-out between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

Andita Listyarini has more.

During 2016, UNMISS has experienced several major crises, starting with an attack on civilians housed near the UN base in Malakal town in February, followed by violence in Wau in June and heavy fighting in the capital city Juba in July.

Some 200,000 people are currently being hosted in UN protection of civilian sites or POCs in various locations around South Sudan.

In towns like Malakal and Juba, these civilian sites and UN premises were either attacked directly or caught in heavy crossfire.

Here’s UN Police Commissioner Bruce Munyambo.

“One lesson I have derived from these experiences is the importance of ensuring that all police officers not only have the relevant skillsets, but also the right mindset to respond quickly and appropriately to a crisis situation. This requires strong leadership, regular scenario-based training with other Mission counterparts, and accountability. Since July, UNMISS has taken several steps to improve the ability of Force and UNPOL to respond robustly when fighting erupts.”

UN police officers are also being trained to enhance community outreach and sensitize local police forces to identify and respond to human rights violations.

Close to 2.6 million people have been forced out of their homes and more than 1.6 million have been internally displaced since the start of the conflict in 2013.

Andita Listyarini, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28?

Source: United Nations Radio.

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