Japanese troops land in South Sudan, fears of first foreign fighting since WW2

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews Japanese Self-Defence Forces' (SDF) troops during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A contingent of Japanese troops landed in South Sudan on Monday, an official said – a mission that critics say could see them embroiled in their country’s first overseas fighting since World War Two.

The soldiers will join U.N. peacekeepers and help build infrastructure in the landlocked and impoverished country torn apart by years of civil war.

But, under new powers granted by their government last year, they will be allowed to respond to urgent calls for help from U.N. staff and aid workers. There are also plans to let them guard U.N. bases, which have been attacked during the fighting.

The deployment of 350 soldiers is in line with Japanese security legislation to expand the military’s role overseas. Critics in Japan have said the move risks pulling the troops into conflict for the first time in more than seven decades.

Tsuyoshi Higuchi, from the military’s information department, told Reuters in Juba that 67 troops arrived in the morning while another 63 were expected to land in the afternoon. The last of the 350 are expected to arrive on Dec. 15, he said.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 – a development greeted at the time with mass celebrations in the oil-producing state. Aid agencies and world powers promised support.

But fighting, largely along ethnic lines, erupted in 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his longtime political rival Riek Machar from the post of vice president.

A peace deal, agreed under intense international pressure and the threat of sanctions, brought Machar back to the capital Juba in April, but he fled after more clashes and the violence has continued.

©Alleastafrica and Reuters

1 COMMENT

  1. News Item – “Japanese troops land in South Sudan, fears of first foreign fighting since WW2
    Nov 21, 2016”
    OPINION
    What is Japan doing in South Sudan. Definitely not for a picnic!!! But seriously, out of all the countries, Japan, as the most experienced nation in human follies, had to go to an African country engulfed in internal affairs. What were they doing there, in the first place? We don’t need to answer that legendary question as self-interest is precious than the souls of South Sudan >>>for that matter, the entire African population.

    But then, why do we Africans blame others (Europeans, Australians, Middle Easterns and Asians) for our own woes. They did, and will keep on doing, for their own interest in the wealth of Africa and eventual for space for their alarmingly over increasing population. And what do the respectable African Governments, OAU. AU and the supremely educated African Intellectuals from Ivy League Universities around the Globe do about it? NOTHING! That is the truth.

    In this situation, do we blame others if they are attracted by the natural, uncultivated richness and space of the African soil for their own interest? Really, do we blame them? Yes, I say, we do—from humanitarian angle!!! But, who says the invaders have the inherent soul to care for humanity in the name of the Good Lord in Heaven. That is what I learned, once upon a time, from the book that some body bestowed upon me before he took my treasure and disappeared <<< Do you, my Dear Innocent African Readers, remember that story? ha … ha… ha…. ha…ha…… In the absence of logical reasoning on the part of the African, it is laughter that comes to mind to rescue our sanity. Or, perhaps leading to it?!!!

    I can’t END this diatribe without wishing Good Luck to the kind, down to earth innocent and ordinary people of South Sudan in their search to find their lost good soul. By all standard, the people of South Sudan deserve a peace of mind and tranquility after sacrificing everything they had in thirty – four – fifty years of “liberation” war only to find themselves cheated by a couple of their compatriots [one with a Ph D Degree and the other with solid illiteracy and dictatorship) “CRY MY BELOVED COUNTRY”.

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