Wednesday, February 22, 2012

South Sudan: Japanese engineers join UN mission to build roads and bridges

UN - Japanese engineering peacekeepers arriving in Juba, South Sudan, on 20 February 2012. Photo: UNMISS21

21 February 2012 –
A Japanese engineering contingent has arrived in South Sudan to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the young country and help build roads and bridges in areas with very little basic infrastructure.

The group of 120 engineers from the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) follows the arrival of an advance team of 34 logisticians from Japan last month, the mission (UNMISS) reported yesterday.

By next month a full contingent of 330 engineers will be in place, as will road rollers, excavators, bulldozers and water tankers.

South Sudan, which became independent from Sudan in July last year, has hardly any tarmacked roads or other basic infrastructure, a legacy in part of years of civil war in Sudan.

Colonel Toru Namatame, who heads the Japanese unit in UNMISS, said his team specialized in “horizontal engineering” and its main role would be constructing roads and bridges.

Hilde F. Johnson, the head of UNMISS and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, voiced her gratitude to Japan for the new contingent.

“The arrival of the Japanese Engineering Contingent is a welcome addition to the mission and its efficiency will only strengthen our efforts to provide assistance to the new nation,” she said today.