Juba, February 6, 2017 (SSNA) — Britain’s Secretary of State for the Department for International Development, Priti Patel, suggested the UK peacekeepers who will be deployed to South Sudan this year could help guard sites of humanitarian organizations.
In an exclusive interview with the Sky News, Patel did not admit whether her country peacekeeping troops will, in fact, protect South Sudan aid. Her statements, however, suggest the UK could give its troops a legal mandate to protect aid sites. She admitted that Britain role will be a “combined effort” and “an integrated approach.”
“This is a combined effort so I think it’s important to say we are working together at every single level. The humanitarian piece is absolutely crucial, it really is, but also we are sending troops over in a very important role. I think it’s fair to acknowledge the role that they are going to be playing is a strategic role and it’s a very important one but the UK’s effort is a combined effort,” Pate said.
She added “We’ll be working together and that’s the point. It’s an integrated approach.”
South Sudanese rival forces have in the past been accused of looting humanitarian aid supplies and abducting NGOs and UN personnel.
Britain, which already has troops in South Sudan under UN mandates, announced in October last year that it will send paratroopers to the war-torn young nation for UN peacekeeping mission.
The United Kingdon is a member of Troika, a three-nation (Norway, US, and UK) bloc widely credited for engineering South Sudan’s July 2011 independence.