United Nations, June 24: The UN has said it will sent home those peacekeepers found responsible of "inadequate response" during a deadly attack on its base in South Sudan where 48,000 civilians had sought refuge in February.
The United Nations takes "very seriously" the findings that confusion over command and rules of engagement hampered peacekeepers' response to the deadly attack, the world body's top peacekeeping official has said.
"We take it very seriously the fact that the Board of Inquiry points to an inadequate response by some of our people on the ground [in Malakal]; there was a lack of responsiveness from some and lack of understanding about the rules of engagement," Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous told reporters yesterday after what he described as "very extensive" closed-door consultations with the UN Security Council.
Ladsous did not name the troops' countries but UN sources said Ethiopian, Rwandan, Indian and Bangladeshi units were deployed in Malakal at the time of the incident.
An Indian official said that Indian troops were not guarding the camp at the time of the incident. Ladsous said he has already spoken with the Permanent Representatives to the UN of the countries concerned. "That time to call names has not come.
I have talked to the Permanent Representatives of the country concerned and there will be follow up as there has been. I will not name names at this point but certainly there will be repatriation, in some cases of a unit and in other cases of individual officers," he said.
Ladsous along with Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, and Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, briefed the 15-member Council on that state of what are now known as 'Protection of Civilian' (PoC) sites that have been up and running in for the past two years in South Sudan.
The UN peacekeeping chief stated that "there was no question that at the time, we made the right decision to take in these people many of them would be dead now if we had not done that. But then, no one expected the crisis [in South Sudan] to continue for such a long time and that we would still have these huge numbers in our protection sites."
The briefing came after the release of a note to correspondents, in which the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a special investigation and a UN Headquarters board of inquiry were convened to review the circumstances of the violence that erupted in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) PoC site in Malakal from February 17 to 18, in which at least 30 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were killed, 123 others were wounded, and a significant portion of the camp was destroyed.
According to the note, the preliminary report of the board mentions, among others, that a number of issues contributed to the incident.
On the UNMISS response, there was confusion with respect to command and control and rules of engagement, and a lack of coordination among the various civilian and uniformed peacekeepers in Malakal at the time of the crisis, the note said.