UN to reprimand peacekeepers over inaction during South Sudan attack
The attack on the base, where nearly 48,000 people were sheltering, left at least 30 dead and 123 wounded
United Nations, United States: The UN is preparing to send peacekeepers home over a “lack of responsiveness” during a bloody attack at a camp in South Sudan in February, a senior official announced Wednesday.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous acknowledged that an investigation had found “inadequacies” in peacekeepers’ response when gunmen in army uniforms stormed the camp in the northeastern town of Malakal on February 17 and 18, firing on civilians and torching shelters.
The attack on the base, where nearly 48,000 people were sheltering, left at least 30 dead and 123 wounded.
Many of those at the camp came from areas where no aid or shelter had been available for months.
“There was a lack of responsiveness by some, a lack of understanding of the rules of engagement by some,” Ladsous said.
He refused to single out any individuals, stating: “I will not name names but there will be repatriations of units and of individual officers.”
Ethiopian, Rwandan and Indian contingents were at Malakal at the time of the attack.
“I can assure you that there will be a follow-up as there has been in other theaters of operation,” Ladsous said.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said preliminary findings from an internal report indicate “there was confusion with respect to command and control” and “a lack of coordination among the various civilian and uniformed peacekeepers” during the crisis.
The aid group Doctors Without Borders has also said the UN mission “failed in its duty to safeguard the people at the site and could have averted many fatalities.”
Tens of thousands of people displaced by civil war live in UN camps in South Sudan, the world's youngest country.