Friday, 10 March 2017

Japan to withdraw from South Sudan peacekeeping mission

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday said Japan’s Self Defence Force  (SDF) will withdraw from the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan when its troops there return home around the end of May.
Abe said the Japanese military contingent’s primary mission for the past five years has been to build infrastructure in the war-torn country.
However, in a move that stoked controversy in Japan, the contingent was allowed from November to mount rescue missions for UN staff and personnel of non-government bodies.
The contingent was also to escort them in line with a 2015 security law that expanded the overseas role of the SDF, as the military is known.
NAN reports that Japanese troops taking part in peacekeeping operations in South Sudan took on new responsibilities on Dec.Dec 12, 2016, including the possible rescue of UN staff and other personnel under attack, and of playing a bigger part in protecting the camps of peacekeepers.
The government assigned the new duties to the 350-member contingent  the main task of building roads and other infrastructure in South Sudan.
South Sudan has been mired in violence since clashes erupted in December 2013 between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.
Fighting largely along ethnic lines has caused the economy to sink, killed tens of thousands of people, displaced more than 2 million, and created a dire humanitarian situation, with nearly five million believed to be severely food insecure.
Machar returned to Juba this year after the sides reached a peace deal, but fresh fighting erupted outside the presidential palace on July 8 while Machar was inside



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