UN to send home peacekeepers for South Sudan inaction | News | DW | 23.06.2016
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UN to send home peacekeepers for South Sudan inaction

Peacekeepers from Rwanda, Ethiopia and India are to be reprimanded for their handling of a bloody attack on a UN camp. Initial reports have blamed a lack of understanding about rules of engagement for the failure.

The United Nations said on Thursday that it will recall some of its peacekeeping troops after they failed to respond properly to a violent attack on a base in South Sudan. Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said a probe into the effectiveness of the soldiers found many "inadequacies" in their conduct.

The allegations stem from an attack on a UN camp sheltering some 48,000 people in the northeastern town of Malakal in February. Men in army uniforms wielding guns killed at least 30 people and wounded more than 120.

According to Human Rights Watch, the violence broke out when ethnic tensions between groups of youths inside the camp boiled over.

Ethiopian, Rwandan and Indian contingents of peacekeepers were on duty at the time.

UN 'failed in its duty'

"There was a lack of responsiveness by some, a lack of understanding of the rules of engagement by some," Ladsous said, but refused to publicly blame anyone specific, adding: "I will not name names but there will be repatriations of units and of individual officers."

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the initial findings from the internal investigation suggested that "there was confusion with respect to command and control" and problems with recognizing civilian peacekeepers who were not in uniform.

Doctors Without Borders has also criticized the UN mission in Malakal, saying it had "failed in its duty to safeguard the people at the site and could have averted many fatalities."

As civil war continues to plague South Sudan, many refugees come to the UN camps not having had food or shelter for days, and rely on the aid and security offered there.

es/kms (AP, AFP)

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