Japanese troops have started pulling out from the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in war-torn South Sudan, ending a five-year old peacekeeping mission in the world’s youngest nation.
“Some contingents of Japanese troops have begun their pullout Monday, the rest will systematically follow. We appreciate their efforts and their services and dedication to the people of South Sudan,” he said.
Japan started contributing with 350 strong military contingents to the UN mission in South Sudan in 2012 to assist in construction of roads and other infrastructure.
The Japanese government announced the withdrawal of its troops from UN mission in South Sudan in March, just four months after the Japanese government decided to assign the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) personnel the new role.
They were given a role of coming to the aid of others in the event of an attack following renewed clashes in the capital of Juba between South Sudanese rival forces last July that left 300 people dead including two China peacekeepers.
The security situation in troubled East African nation has been heavily debated in the Japanese parliament, as GSDF members are not allowed by their constitution to engage in combat activities as part of what the government calls “an international armed conflict”.
Since 2013, South Sudan has been torn mired in deadly conflict between government troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels backing former Vice President Riek Machar.
Fighting since has torn the country along ethnic lines, killing tens of thousands and displacing three million from their homes.—Agencies