Indian soldiers keep peace, empower South Sudanese

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New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan have taken up another mission – to educate and empower locals in Wau Shilluk, a region on the banks of the Nile in the war-torn east African country.

The Indian battalion serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) organized a veterinary camp on Monday in the county located in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan, according to a statement from the Defence Ministry here.

A training workshop was also organised along with UN Human Rights Division to educate women in making bio filters using locally available materials, the statement said.

Gumo Mayik Ayeng, County Commissioner of Wau Shilluk, had earlier complained that medical facilities for livestock were not available and that there was a need for regular check and treatment of domestic animals in the county.

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He also pointed out the lack of potable water availability as Nile River water is not deemed fit for drinking.

During the veterinary camp, Indian vet team, led by Warrant Officer G.R. Rao, examined and treated more than 250 animals.

“The focus was also on to educate the owners of livestock about prevention of diseases and healthy rearing and breeding practices to be followed to ensure a healthy animal,” the statement said.

The team compiled a handbook on “Common Diseases – Cattle and Calves” giving a pictorial description of common diseases and remedies for cattle and calves.

The same handbook was presented to the County Commissioner during his visit to the camp.

“We are very grateful to the Indian veterinary team for their real concern about the health of livestock of Wau Shilluk. They are putting serious efforts towards extending veterinary cover to animals and guiding the owners for prevention and control of the diseases. Their initiative, technical efficiency and enthusiasm is praiseworthy,” the Commissioner was quoted as saying.

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The livestock owners who attended the camp expressed their gratitude to the peacekeepers.

Major Sandeep Kadian organised a workshop to educate local women about the importance of purification of water and construction of bio filter using locally available material such as sand, aggregate and charcoal.

Some 25 women witnessed the demonstration of making a bio filter.

“We are sure that this will help us in improving our living standards. We are also optimistic that the efforts taken by Indian peacekeepers will continue in future also,” said a local.

Wau Shilluk and its adjoining Malakal regions are among the worst war hit areas in South Sudan that declared its independence in 2011. But the youngest country in the world has been battling years of civil war since 2013 because of a dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar. Tens of thousands have been killed, a quarter of the population has fled their homes and the oil-dependent economy has been wrecked in the land-locked country.

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–IANS

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