Covid-19: Mass testing for Rwandan peacekeepers in South Sudan

Rwanda has started mass testing and sampling for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) targeting its peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The testing spearheaded by the Ministry of Health started on Tuesday in Malakal where Rwanda Formed Police Unit-One (FPU-1) hybrid contingent of 239 officers, is deployed.

Rwanda FPU-1 lost one of its members—Police Constable (PC) Enid Mbabazi—who succumbed to Covid-19 on June 2, at the King Faisal Hospital after she was evacuated back home for further treatment.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said that the testing which started in Malakal was inline with the prevention measures against the spread of coronavirus/Covid-19 and the exercise will continue to all Rwandan peacekeepers serving in South Sudan.

“The testing of all officers under FPU-1 and Individual Police Officers (IPOs) in Malakal ended mid-morning on Wednesday and the team will continue to other units deployed in Juba,” CP Kabera said.

Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) officers deployed in Malakal, were also tested for coronavirus.

The FPU-1 Contingent Commander, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Fabien Musinguzi, said that they grieve for their colleague but also continue to execute their peacekeeping mandate.

“We have continued to serve in order to accomplish our peacekeeping mandate as we grieve for our fallen colleague, PC Enid Mbabazi.  

She died in the line of duty, and we will continue to contribute to what she stood and died for, in consideration of the WHO guidelines; social distancing in our camp, parades, patrols and stations; wearing face masks, washing hands as many times as possible and avoiding handshaking,” said Musinguzi.

Apart from the Rwandan peacekeepers deployed in Malakal, who were tested for the virus, other Police, military officers as well as RCS deployed in Juba and other parts of the country, will be sampled and tested.

RNP maintains three Formed Police Unit (FPU) Contingents in South Sudan; two of 160 Police Officers, each and a hybrid of 239, and a total of 1036 peacekeepers in different missions. 

The testing and sampling of the Rwandan peacekeepers across all missions is among the measures taken by the country to strengthen their protection and safety in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other measures include additional protective gears such as face masks, hand sanitizers and educating them on the spread of the pandemic and effective prevention and safety measures.

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