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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 October 19 - 25  > SDF in drills practices what doesn’t work in South Sudan
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2016 October 19 - 25 [SDF]

SDF in drills practices what doesn’t work in South Sudan

October 25, 2016
The Ground Self-Defense Force on October 24 invited the press to observe military drills related to new duties which will be imposed on GSDF troops in the UN PKO mission in South Sudan in accordance with the war legislation.

What the media reporters saw were training exercises related to rushing to rescue foreign peacekeepers under attack (“kaketsuke-keigo”) and protecting UN camps in collaboration with other countries’ peacekeeping troops. These training drills took place in the GSDF Iwateyama Training Camp in Iwate Prefecture.

The “kaketsuke-keigo” training drill was held under a scenario in which UN staff were trapped in a building surrounded by an unarmed mob. In addition to light armored vehicles, 20 SDF personnel armed with Type 89 assault rifles participated in the drill.

In the drill, when the mob was overwhelmed by loud noises from the tanks, SDF servicemen rushed into the building holding up their shields. They succeeded in dispersing the mob without facing resistance and left the site after releasing the trapped people.

This scenario totally failed to reflect the current situation in South Sudan.

In South Sudan, fighting between the government and rebel forces continues. Furthermore, government troops’ attacks on UN facilities and NGO personnel have frequently been reported. The most realistic setting for a military drill on the kaketsuke-keigo duty is that an SDF unit engages in a fight with the South Sudanese government forces or with rebels.

However, a military drill on the assumption of battles with the South Sudanese government troops or the opposition troops violates Article 9 prohibiting the SDF from using arms overseas. On the other hand, if SDF members receive no training in coping with forces stronger than an armed rioting mob, they will be unable to respond to an armed combat situation in South Sudan.

Without clearing up the contradiction, the Abe government in November will decide on whether to give more new duties to SDF units.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t should withdraw SDF from South Sudan: JCP Kasai [October 4, 2016]
> Violence at UN camp in South Sudan verifies risk of SDF members ‘killing’ and ‘being killed’ in PKO missions [February 20, 2016]
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