Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and the United States (US) has visited local police officers serving in Dafur, Sudan last week.
Robert Sisilo said the Contingent of 5 Police Officers serving in the United Nations African Mission in Dafur (UNAMID).
UNAMID was set up to protect civilians in Dafur where militia groups continue to be active and inter-communal violence still occurs.
“This is our first contingent to serve not only in UNAMID but also in UN Peace-keeping Operations. We are, if you like, a new kid on the block.
“So let’s try and get the groundwork right and pave the way for more of our officers to come and serve in UNAMID,” Mr. Sisilo told the officers during their first meeting in his lodge at the Mission’s headquarters in El Fasher, North Dafur.
The 5 Police Officers have been in Dafur and in different sites for almost a year now.
They have been involved in the physical protection of civilians through 24 hours 7 days a week security patrols, Mr Sisilo said.
“These patrols are conducted in collaboration with military and civilian components in and around the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) Camps and farms.
“They also escort IDPs, particularly women and children, when they go out to fetch firewood and water.
“All of these is geared to ensure the protection of civilians, particularly women and children, who are vulnerable to imminent threats of physical violence as they carry out their daily livelihood activities.
“And this humanitarian service is brought about thanks to UNAMID’s current deployment of 12,898 military personnel and 2,888 police officers and advisers,” Mr Sisilo said.
The 5 Police Officers, led by Staff Sergeant Charlton Metopa, will be returning shortly and will be replaced by another 8 officers, two of whom are women.
They will leave for Dafur as soon as they get their visas to enter Sudan.