UNITED NATIONS SEEKS 850 NEPAL ARMY PERSONNEL FOR SOUTH SUDAN
The United Nations Secretariat has requested the government of Nepal to dispatch 850 Nepal Army personnel to be deployed as peacekeepers in the crisis-ridden South Sudan .
The request was made after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called up Interim Election Government Chairman Khil Raj Regmi last week. Nepal is the sixth largest troops contributing nation to UN peacekeeping operations with 850 peacekeepers from Nepal Army and Nepal Police currently in deployment under the UN peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss). The fighting in South Sudan , which gained independence after secession from Sudan in 2011, erupted on December 15. Thousands of people are estimated to have died in the violence and some 180,000 others have been driven from their homes, up to 75,000 seeking refuge on the bases of Unmiss. The mission has been authorised by the Council to almost double its armed strength to nearly 14,000 in an effort to protect civilians. "We have received a request from the UN Secretariat in New York. As per the recent UN Security Council resolution, there is a need for additional 5,500 peacekeepers in South Sudan ," Foreign Ministry spokesman Deepak Dhital said.
The UN has sought Nepal Army personnel as peacekeepers. "We are holding consultations and will take a decision soon," added Dhital.
The government has not taken any decision on the matter so far. A proposal has been forwarded from the Foreign Ministry to the Defence Ministry for consideration.
Though Nepal has soldiers ready to be dispatched, the problem is in arranging for Armoured Personnel Carriers for their deployment.
Six days ago, at least four Nepali peacekeepers were injured in an attack in the young country. Nepal has contributed more than 100,000 troops and police personnel for international peacekeeping. Nepal has conveyed its willingness to provide up to 5,000 military peacekeepers at the request of the UN. The country has a stand-by arrangement with the UN for 2,000 troops for peacekeeping purposes.
So far, 68 Nepali peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives for the cause of world peace and security while serving in the UN peace missions.