The United Nations will mount an operation to evacuate a besieged Indian Army peacekeeping contingent manning a remote base after two of them were killed and another seriously injured in trying to protect civilians from a rival tribe in a South Sudan oil-producing area.
The Indian Army contingent at the temporary operating base remains under threat and the UN will try to evacuate them by flying in additional troops even as the United Nations Security Council will take up the issue of deteriorating security situation in at least three of the country’s provinces on Friday.
At the time of the attack, 43 Indian peacekeepers, six UN police advisers and two civilian UN personnel were at the base, UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement.
“UNMISS is doing everything possible to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the assault on its base in Akobo and secure the safety of its personnel who remain there. The mission will dispatch its aircraft to evacuate UN personnel,’’ added the statement.
The deaths took place in a UN peacekeeping camp in a state no longer completely controlled by South Sudan’s military.
The Akobo post manned by 8 Raj Rifles, around which clashes have been taking place for the last four days, had given shelter to 10 Dinka tribesmen. Over 200 armed persons from the rival Luo Nuer tribe attacked the post leading to the deaths of the two Indian Army JCOs in crossfire.
The camp is located in Jonglei, whose capital Bor may have fallen to the rebels, suggested government sources, adding that communication was so difficult that even the authorities in the national capital of Juba were not sure about the prevailing political equation.
The sources in Delhi suggested that the Akobo post had been under threat for the past four days and initial reports had mentioned the killing of the UN peacekeepers but there was no mention of their country affiliation.