The UK must continue to bring equality and peace to the world’s most fragile countries, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said on a visit to Africa.
He visited the UK’s largest contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, the UN Mission in South Sudan. The Ministry of Defence say that British personnel have been “running a hospital and improving infrastructure to keep internally displaced citizens safe” in the area.
More than 300 British troops are currently deployed in South Sudan. The UK is also the third-largest humanitarian donor to the country, making a £40.8m contribution last year.
“We stand with the people of South Sudan, particularly those who suffer horrific crimes such as sexual and gender-based violence.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson
UK troops were in Bentiu last month where they built 15km of roads used to deliver food and aid supplies. The town in northern South Sudan is host to a large UN refugee camp. In November 2018, Doctors without Borders reported that a series of attacks had occurred against 125 women who were walking to the food distribution centre in Bentiu. The MoD say their work means that women no longer have to walk that route by foot, protecting them from risk of attack.
Warmly received H.E. @GavinWilliamson, Secretary of State for Defence of UK in Hargeisa, Somaliland.— Muse Bihi Abdi (@musebiihi) January 6, 2019
Profoundly discussed strengthening Somaliland-UK bilateral and Historical relationship. pic.twitter.com/gStd94Ixl9
Willaimson also travelled to Somaliland to meet with President Musa Bihi Abdi. They discussed shared priorities of security and economic development as well as counter terrorism and the role UK military plays in mentoring the Somaliland coastguard.