The commanders from three United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa briefed the UN Security Council on Wednesday on the evolving security challenges they face in their respective roles.
Jean‑Paul Deconinck, commander for United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), was joined by Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, the commander of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) who testified from Juba by videoconference.
Also reporting to the Security Council was Leonard Ngondi, who heads up the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Ngondi said the Darfur mission – focused on protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian aid, while assisting with negotiations and community resolution – was fairly straightforward. Kamanzi said civilian protection and humanitarian aid remain his top priorities, but UNMISS teams routinely work in “particularly demanding” conditions that include obstruction, access denial and Status of Forces Agreement violations by the Government.
Deconinck stressed the complexity faced by peacekeepers in Mali. He cited a January 2018 report that put Mali, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo atop the list of most dangerous operations.
“We owe it to our peacekeepers, both civilian and military, to implement the action plan for peace, to change our mindsets and to adapt,” Deconinck said of the increasingly hostile mission environments. “We have to adapt to the circumstances that are defining the current challenges,” he said.
Image: MINUSMA file