SSPDF deploys over 700 soldiers for peace mission to DRC

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan people’s Defense Force has sent off a battalion of seven hundred and fifty (750) soldiers for a peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the East African Community regional force DRC.

This development came following a request from the East African regional body to South Sudan to participate in the peacekeeping mission in order to help moderate the deadly conflict in the democratic republic of Congo.

Speaking to the soldiers yesterday, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, warned the soldiers against immorality and robbing civilian properties while on the mission.

He urged them to desist from criminal offences and keep the Country’s reputation.

“We are going to defend a foreign Country. You should therefore distance yourselves from women and young girls. You shouldn’t also forcefully take property from civilians. Distant yourselves from such activities and focus on your mission. Destruction is not what you people are going for but a proper organization,” said president Kiir

President also warned the soldiers against division among themselves and call on them to avoid the tendency of division along party and ethnic lines.

“I want to tell you that you are one national army. You are going on a mission as a soldier from South Sudan. There are no soldiers for SPLA or SPLA-IO but you are all from one wing without division or discrimination,” he said

He reiterated the need for the forces to ensure complete protection of civilians and their properties in whatever tragedies they would encounter for their well-being.

Furthermore, President said that the peace-keeping force should maintain the Country’s legacy of teamwork and unconditional support as they will be making a step to exercise their duties with no passive treatment.

“I want all of you to keep order. SPLA during the struggle was well-organized and disciplined. I should not hear that South Sudanese soldiers have been involved in malpractice during a mission. Maintain the legacy of the SPLA by wearing a good helmet” he said

On her part, the minister of defence, Angelina Teny, said that it was a first step for the Country’s forces to be involved in foreign peace missions since it became an independent nation.

 “Since we became a nation, it is our first mission to participate in order to restore peace in the region and to the whole world if necessary, and it is a crucial step. We are going to stabilize peace and security in Congo alongside the borders. It is a significant mission and a historical step,’’ she said

She also appreciated the East African Regional Block for having invested many efforts towards involving South Sudan participating in the peacekeeping mission.

Angelina added that South Sudan would not have participated if it was a UN peacekeeping mission due to the recent arms embargo against the Country.

“We thank the leadership of the East African region for this decision by giving us the chance to participate. It was a complete trust from them. We have an Arms embargo on us thus if the mission was to be initiated by the UN, we wouldn’t have participated” she said

She called on the assigned forces to fully participate in the mission whole heartedly so that the Country generates total peace.

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