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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 23 - 29  > SDF peacekeepers in South Sudan, in effect, got sucked into fighting
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2018 May 23 - 29 [POLITICS]

SDF peacekeepers in South Sudan, in effect, got sucked into fighting

May 27, 2018

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force camp in the South Sudanese capital of Juba may have been the target of attacks by the nation’s government forces. This was revealed in a report kept by the GSDF unit dispatched to the UN PKO mission there.

Akahata obtained a report dated December 11, 2016 regarding SDF activities in the UN PKO mission through information disclosure requests.

According to the report, on July 8, 2016, conflict between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces occurred in Juba and lasted for three days. During the fighting, tank and mortar firings took place near the “Tomping” area where the GSDF troops and other UN peacekeepers were based. Later, stray bullets from the combat were found in the GSDF camp.

The report also described an incident in which three South Sudanese government soldiers chasing local refugees forcibly entered the UN facility protecting civilians in the Tomping area. Citing the monitoring of refugees from an outside building adjoining the area occupied by the government troops, the report pointed out that it was undeniable that the GSDF troops faced a threat of attack due to the presence of refugees in the area.

In the report, the SDF unit got information that the South Sudanese government military would attack the Tomping district by claiming that rebel members are hiding amongst innocent refugees taking shelter at the UN facilities. This indicated that in the worst-case scenario, SDF members would have had to engage in a battle against South Sudanese soldiers in order to defend the camp.

After detailing the tense situation in Juba in July, the SDF unit in the report referred to emotional and mental health problems among its members and stressed the need to take proper measures to prevent returning members from committing suicide. Unfortunately, however, two SDF members already committed suicide after returning from South Sudan.

Past related articles:
> 1 in 6 South Sudan-dispatched SDF members suffered from insomnia [January 15, 2018]
> SDF is in the most dangerous area in Juba: volunteer leader in South Sudan [February 22, 2017]

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