Despite a turbulent flight through overcast skies, Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) touched down yesterday in Yambio with purpose.
The UN Peacekeeping mission’s top military leader was focused on getting an in-depth sense of the prevailing security situation in Western Equatoria’s capital city, given recent reports of rising tensions.
His first stop after inspecting an Honour Guard at the airstrip was a courtesy call to state Governor, Alfred Futuyo Karaba.
“The Governor and I discussed numerous issues, but vitally UNMISS’ ongoing support to the people of Western Equatoria through our protection of civilians activities,” revealed Force Commander Subramanian.
“I was happy to inform him that we will soon be establishing an additional temporary base in the state to ensure that our Blue Helmets are proactively positioned to build community confidence and prevent potential violence,” continued the Lieutenant-General.
“Furthermore, our military engineers will rehabilitate essential supply routes connecting remote counties to Yambio during the dry season, thereby boosting trade; helping people access health facilities on time; and, importantly, enabling communities to convene and connect,” he added.
For his part, Governor Futuyo appreciated Force Commander Subramanian’s visit and reiterated his own commitment to ensuring lasting peace in Western Equatoria.
The UNMISS Force Commander then went to meet the monarch of the Azande kingdom before finally wrapping up his engagements by discussing operational challenges with peacekeepers stationed in Yambio, plus the mission’s support to humanitarian partners.
Lieutenant-General Subramanian’s second day began with an early flight to the UNMISS temporary operating base in Tambura, an area where intense conflict in mid-2021 led to loss of lives and widespread destruction of property, while tens of thousands were displaced.
Today, thanks to robust protection efforts by UNMISS peacekeepers from Ethiopia, a fragile calm has returned to this troubled county.
Speaking to troops stationed here, the Force Commander provided both operational direction and praise. “I want you to continue the good work you and your predecessors have done in Tambura. People here trust you to keep them safe, and as soldiers serving under the UN flag, it is your duty to live up to their expectations,” he stated.
“Every effort counts in making sure Tambura residents never have to revisit the traumatic events of 2021,” he added, to rousing applause from Blue Helmets.
Under Lieutenant-General Subramanian’s direction, this temporary base has been reinforced with additional troops and, along with regular patrols in armoured cars, peacekeepers have begun undertaking foot patrols to meet communities regularly.
Another meaningful engagement took place jointly with the County Commissioner Mathew Mabenge, representatives of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, and community members who are part of the Tambura Peace Council.
Peace Council members spoke candidly about the hardships they have undergone and requested the UN Peacekeeping mission continue supporting their efforts to sustain harmony among residents as well as help from humanitarian Agencies, Funds and Programmes in getting displaced children back to school.
Visibly moved, Force Commander Subramanian commended the collective actions for peace taken by authorities, communities, and uniformed personnel in Tambura.
“In my eyes, all of you are heroes. You have shown immense courage and grace despite bearing unspeakable losses. I assure you that UNMISS will continue to be your partner in bringing an enduring peace to Tambura, and across South Sudan.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).