• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Army deploys 157 troops for peacekeeping in South Sudan


The Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre, on Wednesday, rounded off the training of 157 Army troops deployed for a peacekeeping mission to Abyei in South Sudan.

The troops, majorly from Nigerian Company 2 to the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (NIGCOY 2 UNISFA), consisted of 15 officers and 142 soldiers.

Boniface Sinjen, a major general and chief of operations, army headquarters, addressed the troops during their pre-deployment graduation ceremony.

Sinjen said the occasion demonstrated the commitment and capacity of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to deploy quality peacekeepers as part of its contributions to global peace and security.

According to him, Nigeria’s national defence policy remains the security and stability of Africa with specific emphasis on the West African sub-region.

He said Nigeria continued to seek global peace and security by contributing and participating in peace support operations around the world.

Singen said Nigeria had successfully participated in over 40 peacekeeping missions and had deployed more than 100,000 peacekeepers since her first mission in the Congo in 1960.

“All Nigerian peacekeepers alongside others from around the world have aided the course of humanity, while helping nations in distress to restore peace and enthrone much-desired development.

“The UNISFA was established to restore peace and stability in Abyei after the demilitarisation of Abyei in June 2011, making it an administrative town under the control of the United Nations.

“Essentially, the mission is mandated to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, protect the area from incursions by unauthorised elements and ensure security.

“The mission has also helped to restore peace and stability in Abyei through the professional conduct of the troops,” he said.

He urged the contingent to shun acts such as sexual exploitation and abuse and other mission misconducts capable of tarnishing the image of Nigeria.

Singen also mandated them to always be guided by the rules of engagement while observing human rights and respect for diversity in the operating environment.

Ademola Adedoja, a major general and commandant of MLAILPKC, said the unit began the 6-week pre-deployment training on January 27, 2024.

He said the pre-deployment training was to equip the earmarked unit with the requisite skills and knowledge to function effectively and efficiently in their deployment to Abyei.

Adedoja said as part of the training, the troops were taken through crosscutting issues like sexual exploitation and abuse, conflict-related sexual violence, conduct and discipline as well as protection of civilians, amongst others.

The commandant stressed that Nigeria had since the 1960s, contributed troops to different peace support operations from Congo, Yugoslavia and Lebanon, amongst others.

He said, “As the powerhouse of the West Africa sub-region, Nigeria has committed both human and material resources to the attainment of peace in the sub-region.

“This graduation is a testament to the capacity and capability of the MLAILPKC as a United Nations accredited Centre to train quality peacekeepers for deployment to multidimensional Peace Support Operations in fulfilment of her mandate.

“The centre has within the last six weeks been able to train, retrain and refresh the troops on requisite knowledge and expertise to succeed in a peace support operational environment.

“It is my fervent belief that these men are better informed and equipped to perform their roles in Abyei.”

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and indeed the Nigeria government will not tolerate the contravention of these rules and regulations,” he said.