South Sudan peacekeepers help disarm troops before withdrawal

International peacekeepers have taken over policing the Sudanese city of Malakal after the evacuation of the country’s military forces. The commander of the UN mission, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said he had withdrawn the final 1,500…

South Sudan peacekeepers help disarm troops before withdrawal

International peacekeepers have taken over policing the Sudanese city of Malakal after the evacuation of the country’s military forces.

The commander of the UN mission, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said he had withdrawn the final 1,500 soldiers who had been manning the armistice line between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudanese government.

Lacroix told a news conference in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, that the forces had carried out last-minute training and redeployment exercises along the UN-patrolled border line before withdrawing, adding that it was a “victory for peace”.

Since Saturday, international peacekeepers have stood in for the SPLA to monitor a demilitarised zone separating the two forces.

Who says peacekeeping is obsolete? Photograph: Peter Gathorne/AFP/Getty Images

Lacroix also said they would take over law enforcement and offer protection to Sudanese citizens who were near the border. However, he said they had set no timeline for when peacekeepers would be replaced by military forces. The incident came three months after a UN convoy in South Sudan’s Darfur region was ambushed, killing 11 peacekeepers and a civilian.

Dictator Omar al-Bashir in October agreed to accept the deployment of 11,000 more UN troops.

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