S. Sudan road projects to start in April: GSDF


A peacekeeping representative dispatched last month to South Sudan to join a U.N. mission said Saturday road construction in the capital, Juba, should begin in early April.

Col. Toru Namatame, 45, a member of an advance group for the Ground Self-Defense Force, said at a press conference that the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the new nation, which gained independence last July, is not having any particular security problems with Juba’s residents.

On Monday, some 120 GSDF engineers are scheduled to arrive in the capital of South Sudan, which has been ravaged by 22 years of civil war.

The number of Japanese peacekeepers in South Sudan is expected to reach 240 by late March. The U.N. mission has requested that they build roads and port facilities to enhance logistics in the fledgling African nation.

The advance unit has been setting up a camp for the GSDF team on the premises of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan in preparation for the infrastructure work.

Full-fledged work is expected to start in June after the first GSDF unit is replaced by a second batch of around 330 personnel.

South Sudan faces a pressing need to develop infrastructure after a civil war that claimed the lives of 2 million people between 1983 and 2005 has severely hobbled economic development.