Namibian Peacekeepers in Darfur Lauded

The Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has applauded Namibian peacekeepers currently in Darfur, Sudan, as well as previous peacekeepers sent on foreign missions for rendering impeccable services to civilians, while keeping the country’s name high.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that since Namibia started with peacekeeping missions no misconduct charges, or charges of a sexual nature or violation of any human rights claims were levelled against Namibian peacekeepers abroad.

She made these remarks when addressing high-ranking officials during the defence seminar on gender mainstreaming governance, peace and security in Swakopmund that started on Tuesday.

The seminar focuses on policy commitments on gender equality integration in the Ministry of Defence and Namibian Defence Force (NDF) operations, and to provide guidance on how the country must find a strategy on gender mainstreaming.

Although a figure could not be obtained yesterday, New Era was told Namibia currently has a 100 percent women-only peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

Namibia has been participating in various United Nations (UN) missions across the world since independence in 1990.

According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, some countries literally beg Namibia to send its peacekeepers when they find themselves in hostile situations.

“Some peacekeepers of other countries, when sent on foreign missions to neutralize hostile situations and protect innocent civilians become the violators of their purpose. Crimes such as repeated rapes and other sexual and inhuman atrocities are reported against many troops when they return from such missions. However, I must with pride say that my men and women have never disappointed our country, and therefore I must applaud them for keeping the country’s name clean,” said the deputy prime.

She added that Namibian forces are doing a commendable job within the communities they are sent and does not embarrass.

“They carry themselves well on such missions and we must be proud of them,” she said.

The United Nations has described Sudan’s western Darfur region as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The UN reports more than 2.3 million people have been displaced, most of them living in squalid camps in Darfur and at refugee camps neighbouring Chad.

Peacekeepers and aid workers have restricted access to those in need.

The conflict flared in 2003 when rebels in Darfur took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region. The government responded with a counter-insurgency campaign.

Since then, civilians have come under attack from government troops, pro-government militia and rebel groups.

Arab militias are also fighting each other, and there are frequent clashes between tribes.

Levels of violence fell after 2005, but have risen since the start of 2013.

Nearly 400 000 people were displaced in the first half of 2014 alone.

Source : New Era