East Africa

Ethiopia sends 200 peacekeepers to South Sudan

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Ethiopia has sent 200 peacekeepers to neighbouring South Sudan to help with the restive security situation in the country, the Sudan Tribune reports citing an Ethiopian official.

South Sudan’s Foreign Minister was also quoted as stating that the Ethiopian deployment was in line with a United Nations resolution to stabilize Africa’s youngest nation.

The U.N. Security Council in December last year voted to increase the number of security personnel in the war-torn country. The unanimously adopted resolution 2327 sought to push the overall personnel to 17,000 military and 2,101 police.

The U.N. also extended the mandate of its mission – the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – to December 2017 and handed it powers to protect civilians who were the worst affected by the crisis.

As at July 2016, UNMISS had 13,500 soldiers, with Ethiopian troops comprising the largest contingent estimated at 8,300 men.

South Sudan has been in a political and security turmoil since clashes broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former first vice-president, Riek Machar. Machar fled the capital Juba and is currently in South Africa.

A peace process has been launched by the government amid armed clashes between government and rebel forces. The clashes have led to mass internal displacements whiles thousands of nationals have also fled into Uganda and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a force in global peacekeeping efforts as it is among the highest troop contributors. Despite internal security issues, they are actively engaged in the fight against Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab and also peace efforts in South Sudan – peacekeeping and in area of diplomacy.

The Horn of Africa region is generally considered a volatile region. The armed conflict in South Sudan, Al-Shabaab’s attacks of Somalia and Kenya, Ethiopia’s internal security concerns and border issues with Eritrea are among some of the security headaches in the region.

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