Bangladesh to send peackeepers to South Sudan on UN request

Bangladesh will send an infantry battalion with helicopters and transport planes to join the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, the world's youngest country wracked by ethnic and political violence.

"The transportation of the troops and the equipment is set to begin anytime under the United Nations supervision" in line with Secretary General Ban ki-Moon's request to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, an army statement said on Thursday.

The statement did not specify the exact number of soldiers being sent but officials earlier said about 1,000 troops were expected to join the mission in South Sudan.

The Security Council on Tuesday approved an increase of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to 12,500 military and 1,323 police personnel from a current combined strength of 7,000 to counter a major outbreak of violence.

The Bangladeshi armed forces prepared for the deployment within 48 hours of the UN chief calling up Hasina after the Security Council unanimously authorised his plan to boost the strength of the force in South Sudan .

Ban earlier urged the Council to add 5,500 UN troops to the force in South Sudan as ethic violence has left thousands dead, according to the UN.

Tens of thousands of civilians have also sought protection at UN bases amidst ethnic violence pitting members of President Salva Kiir's Dinka tribe against former deputy president Riek Machar's Nuer tribe.

Troops from Bangladesh were earlier tasked with the challenging assignment of holding together a fragile peace treaty and overseeing a referendum that resulted in the emergence of South Sudan as an independent nation. Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping mission's around the world.

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