Ethiopia to deploy another 600 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, South Sudan, Abyei

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Addis Ababa, 5 February 2015 (WIC)- Ethiopia will deploy 600 additional peacekeeping troops to Somalia, South Sudan and the disputed Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan next month, according to the Ethiopian International Peace-keeping Training Centre here.

The additional peacekeepers would be deployed around Kismayo in Somalia while three helicopter gunships would be sent to South Sudan. Preparations have also been finalized to deploy half of the 1,069 troops to be assigned to Abyei under the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).

The head of the centre, Major-General Hassan Ibrahim, told the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) here Wednesday that the peacekeeping forces were being deployed to different places at the invitation of the authorities in the respective countries.

Since the peacekeeping force has finalized its preparations, it will be deployed in March following the supervision of UN and the African Union (AU). Apart from meeting its peacekeeping mission, the troops would also help the countries build strong defence forces by providing training, he said.

The Ethiopian peacekeeping mission in Kismayo will replace the departing Sierra Leone contingent who have cut short their mission recently.

The Ethiopian troops are filling the void at the invitation of the government of Somalia, Gen Hassan said, adding that the peacekeepers would embark on their mission with full logistics.

There are over 12,000 Ethiopian peacekeepers serving in Somalia, South Sudan, Darfur (in western Sudan) and Abyei, it was learned. Of the total, up to 7.0 per cent are women, Gen Hassan said.

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