Kathmandu, September 16
A Nepali peacekeeper deployed in South Sudan was injured when a Sudan government soldier shot at a convoy of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan near the town of Yei in Central Equatoria yesterday.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldier first shot in the air near the UNMISS convoy of four vehicles before shooting directly at one of the vehicles, hitting the Nepali peacekeeper in the leg. The troops were unable to return fire as they did not want to risk injuring civilians, according to a statement issued by the UNMISS.
Nepali Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Gokul Bhandari confirmed the incident, but did not reveal the details of the injured stating he was not authorised to do so before the family of the injured Nepali peacekeeper was informed.
“Yes, a Nepali peacekeeper has been injured. He was shot in the leg. He has been evacuated to a safer place and is receiving treatment. He is out of danger,” said Bhandari. According to the UNMISS statement, the Nepali peacekeeper was evacuated to the UN base before being airlifted to Juba for further medical treatment.
Prior to the shooting of the Nepali peacekeeper, SPLA soldiers had fired approximately 50 shots about 500 metres away from the UN base in Yei.
UNMISS head David Shearer condemned the ‘direct’ and ‘unacceptable’ attack on UN peacekeepers, and demanded that the perpetrator be found and held accountable by government authorities.
“This situation is evidence of lack of command and control of armed forces, which has resulted in unruly elements continuing to violate human rights in the area. It is beholden on the government to bring their forces under control,” he said in the statement.
The attack, which came three days after South Sudan’s rival sides signed a peace deal to end the five-year civil war, followed reports of fresh clashes between government and opposition forces in the area surrounding Kajo-Keji in Central Equatoria. The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism has confirmed that it is investigating alleged violations of the ceasefire agreement in the Yei area, according to the statement.
As of 16 September, 2018, the Nepali Army has deployed across 12 UN peacekeeping missions around the world 5,027 soldiers.
In South Sudan the Nepali Army has deployed 1,745 peacekeepers, according to the official website of the Nepali Army. Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force are the other security agencies from Nepal contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations.
A version of this article appears in print on September 17, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.