UNMAS Director Inaugurates new Mine Action Projects in South Sudan
This week, the Director of UNMAS, Ms. Agnes Marcaillou, visited South Sudan to meet with senior officials, tour recently launched mine action initiatives and inaugurate an armory newly refurbished.
During the three-day visit, Ms. Marcaillou visited the Rajaf Police Training Center, where an UNMAS-led team of Irish military trainers, with the support of UN Police, is teaching South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) officers to safely dispose of conventional munitions. The course, a first of its kind, will be taught to an additional six batches of students over the next 12 months.
“We will be able to take what we learn to our home states where we will remove unexploded ordnance,” student Ater Gordon Machar told Ms Marcaillou as she toured the center. “This will help keep people safe and lead to economic development.”
Ms. Marcaillou stressed the importance of UNMAS role in helping South Sudan to gain critically needed capacity and knowledge.
Graduates of the intensive eight-week course will be able to respond to unexploded ordnance threats, forming a sustainable and readily deployable mine action capacity within the SSNPS.
After visiting Rajaf, Ms. Marcaillou inaugurated an armory refurbished in partnership with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) at the Central Equatoria Police Headquarters. The ceremony was officiated by the General Abraham Manyuat Peter, Commissioner of the Central Equatoria Police Headquarters, Mr. Fred Yiga, UNMISS Police Commissioner and Lieutenant General Andrew Kuol Nyuon, Deputy Inspector General of Police, in front of an audience of police cadres, including many female officers.
Lieutenant General Kuol Nyuon thanked Ms. Marcaillou for supporting this project, saying such initiatives increase accountability and public safety.
The armory, which had been housed in a cramped space that lacked gun racks and strict security measures, now stores the weapons in custom-made racks in locked compartments overseen by a full-time armory attendant.
UNMAS is working with two other partners, the Danish Demining Group and the Norwegian People's Aid, on further pilot weapons and ammunition management projects in Central and Eastern Equatoria states.
“We hope to expand such projects in the future,” said Ms. Marcaillou, noting that these new low-cost, high-impact initiatives highlight UNMAS’ reputation for producing tangible results. “UNMAS delivers,” she summed up.