Thursday, October 11, 2012

South Sudan: South Sudan gets first diplomatic protection unit

UN Mission in South Sudan

10 October 2012 - Stepping up measures to protect the international community, the first officers of the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) diplomatic protection unit graduated today.

The diplomatic protection unit, which was established in April, will be responsible for securing the safety of international bodies such as embassies, international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies.

“It is the obligation of the state to protect the international community,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hilde F. Johnson. “UNMISS is glad to support the establishment and development of the diplomatic protection unit.”

Ms. Johnson and South Sudanese Interior Minister Alison Manani Magaya signed a memorandum of understanding in August, in which UNMISS agreed to continue supporting transformation of the police service.

UNMISS and UN Police supported diplomatic protection training for a first batch of 100 officers, including nine women, in an eight-week programme that consisted of theoretical and practical sessions.

“We have started from 100 officers and hope to (give) support for more police officers in future,” said Ms. Johnson.

UNMISS also provided five vehicles, 40 radio sets and set up an office for the unit that will formally start operations in November. UN Police will advise and mentor the unit’s officers in the field during deployment.

“It’s another wonderful achievement in (the) police sector of South Sudan,” said Mr. Magaya. “There should be some remarkable change in crime trend when the unit kicks off its operation.”

He added that a recent report published by the South Sudanese government suggested that crime rates dropped from December 2011 to May 2012.

The minister also said the government was planning to establish new police bodies, including oil and border protection units, to safeguard civilians in border areas.