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Malakal killings: UN to ‘act’ on probe findings

Author : | Published: Thursday, June 23, 2016

The United Nations says it will punish some of its peacekeepers for failing to protect civilians against a deadly attack on its camp in Malakal in February.

In a note to the media published on the UN website, the UN peacekeeping boss says failure by peacekeepers to respond quickly to the Malakal IDP camp violence led to loss of several lives.

The violence erupted at the UNMISS protection of civilian site in Malakal from 17 to 18 of February.

An investigation into the fighting in Malakal has found that at least 30 people were killed and 123 others were wounded.

It also found that a significant portion of the camp was destroyed in the fighting reportedly triggered by an attempt by two soldiers to smuggle ammunition into the site on February 16.

Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the UN Security Council yesterday that “there was a lack of responsiveness from some” peacekeepers “and lack of understanding about the rules of engagement.”

The note said there was confusion with respect to command and control and a lack of coordination among the various civilian and uniformed peacekeepers in Malakal at the time of the crisis.

The report of the board mentions, among others, that a number of issues contributed to the incident.

Though the UN will not name and shame those peacekeepers who failed the IDPs, Mr Ladsous said action will be taken against them.

The investigation team has recommended more training be offered to UN keepers.

“It’s also about explaining in depth and making sure that everyone, from the top to the bottom, has a thorough understanding of the rules of engagement and what they should do […],” Mr Ladsous. “This sort of training has to be undertaken on a very regular basis so that nobody slips through […] the net,” he said.

“This sort of training has to be undertaken on a very regular basis so that nobody slips through […] the net.”

Eye Radio has been unable to reach the minister of defense for comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, the medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières, has echoed the UN’s failure to safeguard people living at its camp during the deadly violence.

In a report released today, MSF said in addition to the peacekeeping force’s delayed response,  most humanitarian actors working in the site were unable to respond to the acute needs of IDPs during the crisis.

“Our investigation shows that UNMISS did not fulfil its mandate to protect civilians as set by the Security Council: prior to the attack, they failed to prevent the flow of weapons entering the camp,” said Raquel Ayora, MSF Director of Operations, “they chose not to intervene when initial fighting broke out in the camp, and when an attack came from outside the camp they were extremely slow to repel the assault.”

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