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Japan’s defence minister visits S. Sudan over peacekeepers

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UN peacekeepers in South Sudan with one of their helicopters (UNMISS)

October 8, 2016 (JUBA) -Japan’s Defence Minister, Tomomi Inada has visited South Sudan as the war-hit nation prepares to receive up to 4,000 United Nation-mandated regional protection forces.

The forces, to be stationed in the capital, Juba and it’s outskirts, were approved by the African Union members states at a summit held in Rwanda in July.

About 350 peacekeepers from the Asian country reportedly form part in the U.N. mission in the world’s youngest nation.

The Japanese defence ministry, media report say, is considering sending peacekeepers expected to engage in risky rescue missions in war-torn South Sudan.

The UN mission in South Sudan, which comprises of a 12,000-strong force, has repeatedly accused South Sudanese authorities of obstructing its movement in contravention of the status of forces agreement it signed with the young nation.

Some UN peacekeepers were also killed when fighting erupted in the capital in July between South Sudan’s two rival factions.

Tens of thousands have died and hundreds displaced since civil war began in December 2013, and has continued despite a peace deal reached last year.

(ST)

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