South Sudan

Robust interventions by UNMISS military save 50 IDPs in Bentiu from possible abduction

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Members of the Mongolian Battalion in Bentiu photographed earlier this month. On 22 February their timely interventions rescued internally displaced persons about to be abducted. © UNMISS

DANIEL DICKINSON

In a series of incidents taking place on Wednesday 22 February in Bentiu, members of the UNMISS Mongolian Battalion rescued approximately 50 internally displaced persons, IDPs, from being abducted by uniformed soldiers.

The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, has praised the “robust” response and timely interventions, which all took place near a protection of civilians, or PoC, site in Bentiu.

The Mission reports that on Wednesday evening uniformed soldiers were seen beating and harassing 11 IDPs at a nearby farm. Members of the Mongolian Battalion, known as MONBATT soldiers intervened and rescued seven women and four men.

In a number of other related incidents, MONBATT took what was described as an “aggressive posture” and prevented the harassment and possible abduction of other IDPs who were returning to the site from the surrounding area.

Mr. Shearer said the courage shown by the Mongolian soldiers to protect the civilians is increasingly being displayed by UN peacekeepers across South Sudan.

Bentiu is the UN’s largest PoC site in South Sudan with some 120,000 residents.