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South Korean peacekeepers arrive in South Sudan after three-month delay


Hanbit Market, a vegetable and pastry shop belonging to the South Korean contingent's vocational training centre in Bor, is inaugurated (UNMISS photo)

May 31, 2020 (JUBA) – A batch of South Korean peacekeepers has left Seoul heading to South Sudan where they are expected to arrive on Monday 1 June three months after its initial scheduled date due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

On 3 March 2020, South Sudan suspended until further notice the rotation of peacekeepers from five countries China, Cambodia, India, Nepal, and South Korea.

The suspension coincided with the replacement of 300-troop South Korean contingent deployed in South Sudan’s Bor area, known as the Hanbit Unit or Reconstruction Assistance Force.

“The first echelon of the 12th batch for Hanbit Unit was dispatched to the war-torn nation in May after months of delay due to the COVID-19 situation, and the remainder will head for the country on a chartered flight later in the day,” reported the official Yonhap news agency citing a statement from the defence ministry.

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The defence ministry further said that the troops underwent virus tests twice, and all tested negative. Also, they have also been quarantined for over five weeks before their departure to the east African country.

The South Korean troops will deliver about 10,000 coronavirs test kits and 20,000 face masks requested by South Sudan.

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South Sudanese authorities on 12 May announced the resumption of domestic and international flights from Juba airport seven weeks after its closure, despite the continued spread of coronavirus in the country.


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