SEOUL – South Korean peacekeeping forces in South Sudan have returned ammunition provided by Japan, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The troops returned the ammunition Friday through the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), after receiving additional supplies from South Korea, including ammunition.
The troops have been operating in Bor, the capital of the eastern state of Jonglei. They asked Japan on Dec. 22 through UNMISS to provide ammunition as the security situation in the country rapidly deteriorated.
Tokyo decided the next day to lend its support and Ground Self-Defense Force personnel also taking part in the peacekeeping mission handed out 10,000 rifle cartridges to the South Korean troops free of charge.
The first-ever provision of arms from the SDF provoked much criticism among South Koreans. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to controversial war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Dec. 26 only fueled the anger, leading Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense to announce that it would return the ammunition once additional supplies reached its troops.
The supplies arrived in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, in late December but the unstable security conditions had prevented UNMISS from delivering them to the South Korean troops.