defenceWeb advertorial: Time for a peacekeeping think-in

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The kidnap last month of four South African police advisers to the hybrid United Nations/African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s troubled Darfur, reportedly to show the area was not ready for the just-run elections, again underline the dangers of participating in such missions.

It also illustrates the need to constantly rethink peacekeeping approaches and benchmark best practice, says defenceWeb Peacekeeping Africa Conference organiser Johan Wildenboer.

The four have been released and are unharmed, if shaken, by their ordeal. They arrived back in South Africa last Friday.

While Darfur illustrates one set of dangers, the Democratic Republic of Congo shows another, Wildenboer says. President Joseph Kabila is keen to see the UN force, known as MONUC, deployed there withdraw in time for the troubled nation’s 50th anniversary of independence. “But is the country ready for that? The country has along history of UN deployments and departures, all of which were followed by a resurgence of violence. Will this time be any different?”

Wildenboer continues that defenceWeb’s Peacekeeping Africa Conference, set for May 25-26 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, will bring together first hand experience from UN and AU Peacekeeping missions in the DRC, Sudan and Darfur and delegates will be able to question them hear just how effective and secure peacekeeping operations in these regions really are.
“This comprehensive two-day event promises to bring together the relevant role players that are involved in peacekeeping. Experts will discuss tactical and operational issues, protocol, policies and strategy. Attendees will get their most pressing questions answered,” Wildenboer avers.