WINDHOEK – Namibia is to dispatch an additional contingent of 27 police officers to join the United Nations Hybrid Mission in Sudan, Darfur region (UNAMID)
The deployment is the second for the Namibian Police (Nampol) in the Sudan region with 23 officers having already been attached to UNAMID, bringing the total number of Namibian police officers in that region to 50, of whom six are female officers. The 27 police officers are expected to leave this coming Sunday.
Their deployment comes just weeks after three Senegalese and one Zambian werer killed and another was seriously injured.
“I urge you once again to take precautionary measures on the security situation in the mission theatre, more particularly the fragile and volatile environment in the region,” implored the Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga who announced the planned deployment in Windhoek on Tuesday.
“Emulate the good conduct and continue upholding a high standard of professionalism and the good reputation of the country,” stressed Ndeitunga.
He said he had taken cognisance of the daunting challenges that the United Nations peacekeepers are faced with in the field particularly in Darfur.
“Challenges start with personal sacrifices made by leaving families, relatives, friends, colleagues and loved ones behind, and also the risk of being attacked and killed by the belligerent groups on the ground,” he said.
“Now that you are ready to join other officers in the mission area, in as much as you continue to maintain safety and security in that country, I would like to urge you once more again to be mindful of your own safety and security and those of your colleagues,” he cautioned.
In addition, he said, the deployment has a significant impact on the international community given the fact that Namibia was requested by the United Nations (UN) to increase the number of peacekeepers deployed in Darfur from 31 to 50.
“This is undoubtedly an indication of the good cooperation that exists between Namibia and the United Nations, which I believe will go a long way to cement the good relations with the international community,” he said.
Nampol has been participating in various United Nations missions across the world, starting with the first mission in East Timor in 2000. That mission ended in December 2012 and lasted for almost 14 years on the Asian island.
Other Nampol missions with both the United Nations and the African Union were in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia.
Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi told New Era the normal tour duty is 12 months, but this could be extended on request from the United Nations.
By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa