United Nations Mission in South Sudan

United Nations Mission in South Sudan
United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan
Abbreviation UNMISS
Formation 9 July 2011
Type Peacekeeping Mission
Legal status Active
Ellen Margrethe Løj
Parent organization
United Nations Security Council

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is the newest United Nations peacekeeping mission for the recently independent Republic of South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July 2011. UNMISS[1] was established on 8 July 2011 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1996 (2011). UNMISS is since 2014 headed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Løj who succeeded Hilde Frafjord Johnson. As of August 2015, it is composed of 12,523 total personnel, 11,350 military, and 1,173 police personnel. It is headquartered in the South Sudanese capital Juba.[2]


A New Zealand Army officer assigned to UNMISS with a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Army and a civilian in March 2012.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
South Sudan
Foreign relations

The stated UNMISS Mandate[3] includes:

The mission was established by Security Council Resolution 1996[4] and extended to 15 July 2013 by Resolution 2057.[5]

As per Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the peacekeeping mission is concerned with the protection of civilians, and thus is not mandated to engage in protection of South Sudan's territory or the sovereignty of that territory[5] (cf. the 2012 South Sudan–Sudan border war).



UN Security Council resolution 2132 (24 December 2013) authorised a military component of up to 12,500 troops, and a police component of up to 1,323.[6]

India has supplied 2,237 troops; the Deputy Force Commander is India's Brigadier General Asit Mistry,[7] while the force commander is Ghana's Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi.[8] Other contributors of troops are Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vietnam, Yemen,Zambia and Zimbabwe.[9]

Police have been contributed by Albania, Argentina,Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.[9]



In a July 2012 speech, a day after the extension of the mission, Hilde F. Johnson spoke in Juba about the progress of UNMISS.[5] Johnson discussed the mission's protection of civilians and the documenting and verification of incidents. Johnson discussed the January 2012 Lou Nuer attacks in Jonglei State whereby the actions of UNMISS in deploying peacekeepers and alerting the South Sudanese government resulted in "thousands of civilian lives [being] saved", as well as progress in areas such as policing, justice and democracy.[5]

On 21 December 2012, a civilian UNMISS helicopter was shot down over Jonglei State. Five people, including four Russian crewmembers, on board the aircraft were killed.[10]


JGSDF soldiers work on making a paved road in an engineering operation.

On 9 April, five Indian UNMISS troops and seven civilian UN employees (two UN staff and five contractors) were killed in a rebel ambush[11] in Jonglei while escorting a UN convoy between Pibor and Bor.[12] Nine further UN employees, both military and civilian, were wounded and some remain missing.[13] Four of the civilians killed were Kenyan contractors working to drill water boreholes.[14] One of the dead soldiers was a lieutenant-colonel and one of the wounded was a captain.[15] According to South Sudan's military spokesman, the convoy was attacked by David Yau Yau's rebel forces that they believe are supported by the Sudanese government.[13] UNMISS said that 200 armed men were involved in the attack and that their convoy was escorted by 32 Indian UN peacekeepers.[13] The attackers were equipped with rocket propelled grenades.[14]

A UN spokesman said that the fierce resistance put up by Indian peacekeepers forced the rebels to withdraw and saved the lives of many of the civilians.[13] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the killings a war crime, and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.[16] United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Banbury praised the bravery of the Indian soldiers.[17] India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, paid his tribute to the "brave soldiers".[18] About 2,200 Indian Army personnel are deployed in South Sudan as a part of the UNMISS mission.[19]

Coup d'état attempt

Fighting that spread as a result of the 2013 South Sudanese coup d'état attempt led to the deaths of two Indian peacekeepers, while another soldier was wounded in Akobo, Jonglei, on 19 December.[20] On 24 December, the UNSC voted to nearly double the existing 7,600 troops in the mission, with another approximately 6,000 troops to be added.[21]

The UN Secretary General expressed deep concern as UN staff received threats from the body guards of Senior government Information Minister that demanded armed access to UN Mission Camps where civilians are sheltering.[22] Following this incident President Salva Kiir accused the UN of sheltering armed opposition forces in their UN Mission, which the UN denied. Salva Kiir also accused the UN of an attempted take over of his leadership.[23][24]


On Thursday 17 April 2014, 58 people were killed and at least 100 people wounded when an armed mob stormed the UN base in Bor.[25][26][27] A crowd of people who pretended they were visiting the base to present a peaceful petition opened fire on some of the 5,000 civilians who had taken shelter in the UN base.[28] Of those killed, 48 were civilians, while 10 were among the attackers. The violence reflected tension between the ethnic Dinka and Nuer peoples;[27] before the attack, a crowd of local Dinkas had demanded the thousands of Nuer sheltering in the camp be relocated elsewhere.[27]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised that any attack on UN peacekeepers constituted "a war crime".[25] The UN Security Council expressed "outrage" at the attack, saying:[29][30]

The members of the Security Council expressed their outrage at the recent attacks by armed groups in South Sudan that have purposefully targeted civilians as well as UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) sites and personnel, in particular the 17 April attack against the UNMISS compound in Bor that resulted in scores of dead and injured, including those seeking the shelter and protection of the United Nations, and the 14 April attacks in Bentiu and Unity State.

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms these acts and underscored that attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.


As part of its mandate to conduct human rights reporting, UNMISS released a report in mid-2015 on an alleged campaign of violence by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and associated armed groups in Unity State. The report cited witness accounts of abductions, rapes and people being killed and burned alive in dwellings.[31]

UNMISS continued to struggle to cope with the large populations of internally displaced people living within the 'Protection of Civilians' (PoC) sites in 2015. The mission was accused in May 2015 of failing to secure the perimeter of the Bentiu PoC site during an expansion of the site led by the International Organisation for Migration.[32]


Ban Ki-moon requested an independent investigation of the deployment be made following reports that on 11 July South Sudanese troops rampaged through the capital, killing and raping civilians and foreign aid workers. The event had occurred following three days of fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers aligned with former Vice President Riek Machar that resulted in the deaths of 300 civilians and two UN peacekeepers. Led by Patrick Cammaert, the investigation found that the force suffered from disorganization and a lack of leadership. Ban Ki-moon requested on 1 November that Lieutenant General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, the Kenyan force commander, be replaced as soon as possible.[33] The next day the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the United Nations of using Ondieki as a scapegoat and announced that it would be withdrawing all of its forces from South Sudan.[34]


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  2. "UNMISS Facts and Figures – United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan". UN. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  3. "UNMISS Mandate – United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan". UN. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  4. "S/RES/1996 (2011)". UN. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Near Verbatim Transcript of Press Conference hosting United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, Ms. Hilde F. Johnson" (PDF). UNMISS. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  6. "Resolution 2132 (2013)". United Nations Security Council. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  7. "UN resolution addresses Indian concerns in South Sudan violence". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  8. "UNMISS Leadership". UNMISS. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  9. 1 2 "UNMISS Facts and Figures". UNMISS. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. "Attack of an UNMISS Helicopter in South Sudan". U.S. Department of State. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  11. "UN peacekeepers killed in South Sudan ambush". Al Jazeera. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  12. Pandit, Rajat (10 April 2013). "Five Indian peacekeepers killed in South Sudan ambush". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Associated Press (9 April 2013). "5 UN peacekeepers, 7 others killed in gunfire attack in South Sudan, officials say". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  14. 1 2 "Gunmen kill 4 Kenyans on Sudan water drilling mission". Business Daily Africa. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  15. "Bodies of five martyrs likely to reach India tonight". First Post. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  16. Dikshit, Sandeep (9 April 2013). "Killing of peacekeepers a war crime: Ban ki-Moon". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  17. "Indian soldiers killed in Sudan fought valiantly: UN Assistant Secretary General to NDTV".
  18. PM regrets killing of Indian soldiers on UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan
  19. Bodies of Indian soldiers killed in Sudan to arrive in Delhi tonight
  20. "Peacekeepers killed at South Sudan UN base - Africa". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  21. Kulish, Nicholas (24 December 2013). "Political Fight in South Sudan Targets Civilians". The New York Times.
  22. Aleu, Philip; Poni, Lucy (2014-01-21). "UN Bars South Sudan Official from Camp for Displaced". Voa news. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  23. "South Sudan President: UN Seeking to Take Over". Voa news. 2014-01-22. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  24. "South Sudan President Salva Kiir hits out at UN". News. BBC. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  25. 1 2 Lederer, Edith M (18 April 2014). "UN Says 58 Killed in Attack on UN Base in SSudan". abc. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  26. "South Sudan conflict: Attack on UN base 'kills dozens'". BBC News. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  27. 1 2 3 "South Sudanese soldiers sent to protect UN base after more than 48 killed". The Guardian. Reuters. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  28. "South Sudan attack on UN base leaves dozens injured". The Guardian. AFP. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  29. Wilson, Steve (19 April 2014). "Deadly attack on South Sudan base may be considered a 'war crime'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  30. "Attacks against the United Nations and civilians in South Sudan: Security Council Press Statement". Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  31. "New levels of 'brutality' in South Sudan, says UN rights report". UN News Centre. 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  32. "UN delays leave protection area unfenced amid horrific violence in S Sudan's Unity State". Radio Tamazuj. 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  33. Hersher, Rebecca (1 November 2016). "A 'Chaotic And Ineffective Response To The Violence' By U.N. In South Sudan". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  34. "Kenya withdraws troops from UN mission in South Sudan". Al Jazeera. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
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