RPF To Arrive South Sudan In Phases

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General to South Sudan, David Shearer has said the Regional Protection Forces (RPF) of 4,000 will arrive in phases.

 RPF To Arrive South Sudan In Phases
The Rwandan RPF unit that arrived last weekend at the UNMISS Rwandan contingent base [Photo by Jale Richard]

By Jale Richard

JUBA, 09 August 2017 [Gurtong] -“The arrival of these contingents marks the beginning of the phase of deployment of the RPF that would eventually number up to 40,000 troops,” Shearer said on Tuesday when inspecting the unit of the Rwandan contingent that arrived last weekend.

 “The remaining Rwandan peace keepers who are part of the main battalion will be arriving in the next weeks and the paper woks are currently being processed by the South Sudanese government.”

A unit of the Rwandan contingent of the RPF consisting of 123 forces arrived last weekend ahead of the phased deployment of the remaining Rwandan forces and Ethiopians who are to arrive later.

There are already a small number of Nepalese and Bangladeshi engineers, in Juba.

The remaining over 600 Rwandan troops will arrive before the arrival of the Ethiopian battalion, according to the UNMISS Chief.

According to shearer, The RPF will be commanded by General Jean Mapenzi, of Rwanda, under the field command of the UNMISS peacekeeping mission.

“The RPF is not a separate UN peace keeping force. The 4000 force will be under the force command of the UNMISS peace keeping commander which is under my command,” he said.

Shearer said the RPF force will be deployed in Juba and the surrounding areas as per the mandate authorized by the UN Security Council resolutions.

He said arrival of the RPF means the existing UNMISS troops in Juba can be deployed in different locations to protect civilians, support delivery of humanitarian assistance and monitor reports on human rights situation.

“Having additional troops mean that we can carry out more tasks related to our mandate to protect civilians and build durable peace,” Shearer said.

“It will enable UNMISS to provide more patrols on the Juba-Nimule road, and Juba-Bor road that experiences perpetual attacks on civilians.

According to shearer, there are some patrols on Juba-Nimule road and Juba-Bor road, and with the deployment of the RPF, UNMISS will make more frequent patrols on the roads that “are a lifeline” for the people of South Sudan.

He said as fighting still continues in the country, insecurity remains a real challenge to civilians.

“Extra peace keepers mean we can better protect the people of South Sudan and help build that durable peace that we are looking for,” he said.

Shear said the RPf will be in the country depending on the mandate given to it by the UN Security Council.

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